Developers interested in sprucing up three blocks on West Atlantic Avenue will have their chance, again.
After plans with the developers of Equity fell through, the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency board discussed what to do with the land they own. They agreed it would be best to solicit new responses from developers interested in bringing a project to the space.
With only four of the seven board members present at the first meeting discussing the project, the board was divided on whether to discuss the topic without more of the board. The discussion was continued over the next several meetings.
Chairman Reggie Cox pressed to award the contract that first night to one of the original developers, Jones New Urban. When the proposals were originally presented to the board in 2013, that project was the one that the agency staff recommended the board select.
But the board’s attorney said selecting a developer wasn’t on the agenda. He said the item would have to be properly noticed and the agency would have to go back to the original developers to see if they are still in a position to bring their project to town if selected.
Another factor is that the agency has accumulated more parcels that developers may want to incorporate into the site. The land is also likely worth more now than it was in 2013 so staff will request a new appraisal.
“Everything other than the objectives is different,” board member Paul Zacks said. “The market, the cost. The cleanest way to do this is to issue a new RFP. We won’t have excluded anybody.”
Board member Daniel Rose agreed it is best for the board to start the process over with a fresh start.
“We can make this a priority project this year,” he said. “It’s a prime piece of land. Let’s see what’s out there.”
The board voted 5-2 to allow staff to create a new request for proposal. Chairman Cox and board member Joseph Bernadel cast the dissenting votes.