At last night’s City Council Meeting, Council met with Downtown Phase II developer Joel Testa to discuss input received from citizens during the three recent public work sessions. Council asked for the developer’s input regarding the frequently heard citizen concerns, including density of housing and offices. Initial discussions included possibly reducing the office density by 36% which could eliminate the need for building a parking structure, estimated at a cost of around $6 million to construct.
Council members expressed their concerns about finding the right balance between down-scaling the overall project, and still being able to pay for the City’s costs with money generated from the development, without having to dip into general fund money.
Council directed the developer to return on July 9 with options to the plan that would decrease the number of offices and residences, eliminate the parking structure, and add green space. In addition, Council is interested in how those changes would impact the land value.
Scaling down the number of homes and offices would decrease the value of the land. Land value is important because the City wants to pay for its portion of the project with new revenue from income tax and property tax generated from the new homes and offices. Council is not interested in paying for improvements directly out of the general fund which could impact other City services.
The developer will come back to City Council on July 9 with plan options, and City staff will provide calculations regarding how those changes in land value would impact funding for the City’s portion of the project. To move forward, the new plan would go through further review and approval by Planning Commission, the Architectural and Historic Board of Review, Council, and other regulatory bodies before becoming a reality. Last night's Council Meeting discussion can be viewed here.