INDEPENDENCE — The city of Independence is accepting proposals to design and build streets, and main sewer and water lines on the old Valley Concrete site, now called Independence Landing.
The roughly 20-acre property was acquired by the city in November 2014 from Valley Concrete for $800,000. The city has spent roughly $600,000 improving the land for future developers.
The city tentatively agreed to work with Tokola Properties, out of Gresham, as the developer in December 2015, but no deal had been signed yet, said Shawn Irvine, economic development director.
“We’re essentially continuing to ensure that these parcels are shovel ready while we discuss and negotiate with that developer,” Irvine said. “Frankly, we hope by continuing to make these parcels shovel ready, we hope that will help with some of these negotiations.”
By building basic roads and sewer and water systems, the city is getting the site more “shovel-ready” than it was before, Irvine said.
In the city’s last public-private partnership, the development of Riverplace Apartments on Deann Drive, the developer built the streets and connections.
This property is different because of the magnitude, Irvine said.
“We expect this to be two to three times bigger than Riverplace in terms of investment,” he said. “The more money being asked to put into a project, the harder (developers) look at it.”
The city will accept proposals until the end of June, with hopes of beginning construction in the fall. Irvine said money to pay for the project will come from the Urban Renewal District fund.
He didn’t say how much it would cost because he hasn’t received all the bids yet.
“The design services will be over $100,000,” he said. “That’s why we’re going out for public bid. That’s the only real estimate we have right now.”
The project will provide one main road to serve the site, including main sewer and water lines, Irvine said.
“We’re essentially creating the primary access to city utilities for this site,” Irvine said. “It will be up to the developer if they want to do something else.”
The area is part of the enterprise zone, which allows some companies and businesses to apply for three to five years of property tax forgiveness, but Irvine said he doesn’t expect businesses in Independence Landing to qualify or take advantage of that zone.
“Even though it’s a great site, great community, we’re still off the beaten path as far as the development community is concerned,” Irvine said.
“That is increased risk,” he continued. “The more we can do to decrease risk variables, the better the property looks and the easier it will be to get financing and get a developer to do something there.”