INDEPENDENCE — The city of Independence received one proposal for a vacant lot located in the Independence Landing Project area.
Young Development offered $180,500, $18.50 per square foot, said Tom Pessemier, city manager.
“That’s higher than the current market for bare commercial land, but you also have to remember that Osprey Lane has been built, sidewalks have been built, utilities have been put in there, so it seems like the price is good,” Pessemier told city councilors at their Jan. 14 meeting. “They would, of course, want credits back. They requested credits back equal the expense that they’re paying. A lot of that money would go to the public parking lot. That’s a pretty expensive project.”
Aaron Young, of Young Development, proposed a three-phase strategy, Pessemier said.
“The first phase is building a 4,500-square-foot building for the Elks on the south end of lot 7, and then building a public parking lot on the north end of lot 7,” Pessemier said. “Phase two would be to build a building behind where the mural is, coming off of Main Street. They were able to acquire that property, is my understanding, through an agreement with the Elks in order to do the phase one portion of the project. Phase three would actually be refurbishing and redeveloping the Elks building itself.”
Kim Corliss spoke during public comments on behalf of the Elks Lodge No. 1950.
“Our current building, located at 289 Main St., is very old and becoming quite expensive to maintain,” Corliss said. “For the past four years, we have been trying to sell our building. We are now working with a local developer who is willing to build us a new high-efficiency building in exchange for our current property.”
That is contingent on the city selling the lot to Young Development.
“With a new cost-effective building, we will be able to remain in the community and continue to work closely with the community activities,” Corliss said. “The Elks Lodge 1950 has been serving this community since 1955, and has done and continues to participate in many community activities.”
The city has not yet sold the lot to Young Development.
Pessemier said the city put the request for proposals out once, and then put it out again with a deadline toward the end of the year.
“We sent that out to all the commercial Realtors in the area,” he said.
Pessemier said he and Shawn Irvine, economic development director, spoke with some of them.
“Kind of the consensus we heard from them was, ‘It’s a great area, this is a small kind of narrow lot and sitting in between everything else and the market just isn’t right there,’” Pessemier said.
He said the proposal from Young Development scored a 71 out of 100 points.
“We thought it was actually a pretty good proposal,” Pessemier said. “It makes a lot of sense to us. The Elks is not a retail establishment, but it is a service that has been in this community for a long period of time.”
He said he was looking for direction from the council on how to proceed.
“We would recommend kind of just going and working on a development agreement and bringing that back to you either in executive session or public session, but I kind of wanted to get your feedback on what you guys thought about that,” Pessemier said.
Councilor Shannon Corr said her preference is to discuss it in executive session.
“I think prior to working up the agreement,” Councilor Tom Takacs added.
Pessemier said they will work on scheduling an executive session to talk about what the agreement may entail.
Councilor Marilyn Morton asked if the work with the developer would go “fairly fast.”
“I think probably it will,” he said.
Young Development is working on the Osprey Point project with some other partners, he said.
“We’ve entered into a development agreement with them prior, so it will probably be modeled off that,” Pessemier said. “The differences will be what the achievables are, then what’s that going to be tied to, to make sure we protect the city’s interests and (money).”
Councilor Jennifer Ranstrom-Smith asked if Pessemier could email an update on Osprey Point.
“I’m happy to just give it to you right now,” he said. “We have been spending a fair amount of time with Aaron (Young) as we’ve been trying to finish up some of the pieces of the development agreement to actually transfer the property to what is now, what’s called a tenants in common. We’re working on an assignment to take it from Young Development Group to take it to the partners, who are actually going to be the financial resources and the construction resources behind it. Aaron and his wife are heavily involved in two of the three companies that will be doing that.”
He said they’re at the point where Young needs to turn in the foundation and pier plans.
“From there we will probably be able to approve those in a few days, and then it’s just the scheduling their contractor to get in,” Pessemier said. “I think he told me that they’re probably just a few weeks out.”
As that project moves forward, there will be some disruption to the sidewalk, particularly along C Street, he said.
“We’re trying to get that closure done before the events start, and that’s one of the reasons that we’re all motivated to get this started sooner rather than later,” Pessemier said.