News and Tribune

June 14, 2013

No vote on Jeffersonville 10th St. plan

By BRADEN LAMMERS
braden.lammers@newsandtribune.com

JEFFERSONVILLE —

Options include two or a single hotel building, a Starbucks, retail space, a Qdoba or a McDonald’s.

But no action was taken by the Jeffersonville Redevelopment Commission to accept a proposal from either one of the two contractors that returned proposals to develop property near 10th and Spring streets. Two requests for proposal were returned to the redevelopment commission to develop city-owned property purchased under the previous administration to make way for a proposed canal project. However, the proposals returned were limited to a development area near the 10th Street corridor that would extend back to Indiana Avenue and Ninth Street.

 

API

Jeffersonville-based API offered to develop the 4.3 acre site by locating a national hotel chain with 2,300 square feet per floor and total 150 rooms. In addition, the plans call for three retail businesses to locate in about 6,000 square feet of space on the site.

“There’s really a true lack of restaurant and retail services available at this end of Jeffersonville,” said API President Alan Muncy.

Eric Goodman, vice president of development with API, added that a hotel planned for the site will fill a need, especially with Clark Memorial Hospital across the street.

API previously offered that Starbucks has signed a letter of intent to locate at the site. Wednesday it was revealed the group also has letters of intent from Qdoba and Verizon.

“We are in communication for a Hilton franchise group that does have interest in this site,” Muncy said, referring to the planned hotel. He added there is a potential for 190 full- and part-time positions to be created as a result of the development.

But to bring in the companies and develop the site, the purchase price for the property that was offered was $1.

“The reason for our proposal and such a low purchase price is the amount of investment we’ve got to make into the property,” Muncy said. “The amount of on-site and off-site improvements, we’ve got to get the purchase price down. We’ve got to be able to pass that savings onto the tenant. It’s not our intent to put it in our pocket, it’s our intent to incentivize and make it an affordable project for people to come and be a part of.”

Goodman explained part of the concerns with developing the property include the removal of the wastewater treatment plant that was formerly located on the site and planning around the 10th Street ramp being constructed as part of the Ohio River Bridges Project.

Muncy added that if the hotel moves forward as planned, it would generate an estimated $1 million per year in tax revenue. He continued that if API was awarded the project, it would have a plan in place in July, start construction in November, with an estimated completion date in May or June 2014.

 

WHITE REACH DEVELOPMENT

A similar plan was proposed by Lexington-based White Reach Development that would bring retail, restaurants and hotels to the location.

The White Reach plan called for two hotels, two stand-alone restaurants and a Starbucks. Letters of interest for potential tenants included Zaxby’s, McDonalds, Cracker Barrel and hotel chains owned by Hilton. The White Reach plan also pushed a retention pond located near the site closer to Seventh Street.

Eventually the group’s plan would be to extend the development and incorporate pedestrian and bike paths to connect to downtown.

“When I read your RFP, one of the most important portions of it was to connect [to] your historic downtown,” said Steve Reach, managing member of White Reach Development. “Our whole objective toward this development is ... to use this as a catalyst to bring income and revenue to Jeffersonville, but also to bring connectivity.”

Despite pushing the retention basin farther back that its currently planed location, Reach said phase one of the development could take place on the property owned by the city.

“Everything in this initial plan could go on the property,” he said.

Again the purchase price was an issue. It was stated that the purchase price would not be known until the contractor was able to do some more serious due diligence and after being able to have control of the property, said Eric Brewer, with White Reach Development.

But Reach said that the firm would seek incentives like New Market Tax Credits, and the breaks received by the developer would go back to the city in the way of the property purchase price. Lake noted that the city has applied for, and was denied, the New Market Tax Credits once before.

Reach added the development — estimated between $24 million and $25 million — is not contingent on receiving the tax credits.

No definitive time was offered, but as soon as the environmental issues were satisfied, White Reach would be able to develop an amended plan in about 60-90 days, Reach said. A realistic groundbreaking would be in Spring 2014, he said.

No action was taken Wednesday. The redevelopment commission agreed to call a special meeting to take action on the RFPs at 5 p.m. Tuesday, June 18 at City Hall, 500 Quartermaster Court.