HUDSON, OH (September 16, 2020) – At the September 8 Hudson City Council Workshop, Fairmount Properties, developers of Downtown Phase I – First & Main, presented their vision for a mostly residential development on the land proposed for Downtown Phase II. The plan involved selling the property to Fairmount Properties. Fairmount would also purchase the remaining Windstream building directly from Windstream for the development.
At the meeting, Council members expressed a need to allow for public input into the direction of the development. Council scheduled a discussion on the future of the Downtown Phase II Development on September 22nd.
Subsequently, Randy Ruttenberg, Principal of Fairmount Properties, sent an email to City Manager Jane Howington and Council that indicated the company’s desire to withdraw from further discussions about Downtown Phase II. According to Ruttenberg, “As opposed to us continuing to try and guess at what city council wants here, and face a ‘bar’ that continues to change, we would ask that they go through whatever process they wish to go through and reach out to us, or not when they’ve reached some sort of consensus.”
Additionally, Ruttenberg said, “That said, it does still appear that council, as a group, had differing opinions on how these sites should be developed or for what purpose. We are also aware of the acrimony this project had created amongst the community during its recent failed attempts and have very little interest in stepping into the middle of that.”
As a result of that email, Council member Hal DeSaussure entered a motion at the September 15 Council Meeting to direct staff to begin negotiations with Fairmount on the sale of the property, which would then need to be approved by Council, Planning Commission, and the Architectural and Historic Board of Review. DeSaussure stated his rationale for the motion was to signal to Fairmount properties that the City was still interested in working with them, as he believes they are the best developer to build this project and keep the interests of Hudson in mind.
Several Council members felt it would be premature to move forward without citizen input and this might not be in the best course of action. Council member Chris Foster expressed concerns that authorizing the City to begin negotiations was premature since Council had not had an opportunity to discuss what process should be used. The discussion has been scheduled for September 22.
Council President Bill Wooldredge stated that he believes the City has three options for the property. One would be to sell the property to a trusted developer such as Fairmount Properties. The second would be to enter into another joint venture as was done previously with Testa, which Wooldredge said did not work out well. Third, the City could do nothing, but the City would have to continue to make debt payments for the work that was done, including moving the bus garage and salt storage facility.
The motion failed 3-3. After further discussion, Council agreed to keep the previously scheduled discussion of Downtown Phase II on the Council Workshop Schedule for next week.
The initial presentation of the Fairmount Property plan can be viewed in the September 8th Workshop video at www.hudson.oh.us/WatchMeetings.
Fairmount Property conceptual site plan can be viewed at www.hudson.oh.us/FairmountPreliminaryPlan.
Randy Ruttenberg’s email can be viewed here: www.hudson.oh.us/RuttenbergEmail.