“We have gotten some of the potholes filled, and they did one patch strip in front of building to take care of the really, really bad potholes. They are not going to do anything further with parking lot,” John Green, city finance director, told city council in a presentation on the hiring of JT Development.
Some trees and weeds around the vacant Burger King building were removed following a city request.
“They do just enough to keep ahead of us and the compliance issues,” Green said.
The city will pay Tuss up to $10,000 to study the area. The City Council, which has listed the uptown area that includes the property as a priority, supported the hiring after the September presentation.
“Mr. Tuss will be analyzing the debt and possible acquisition costs to determine the viability for redevelopment. If the income potential is not there, it will be very difficult to sell the idea to a developer,” Tim Eggleston said.
Among the study goals, Green said, are:
** Assess the current status, the viability of the property and the study area;
** Identify potential redevelopment options;
** Develop an economic feasibility model to examine viability and effectiveness of development, financing and strategies
“I think that would give us a blueprint on what we potentially — either through the city or in conjunction with a private developer — could do with the property,” Green said.
If Tuss gets halfway through the study and doesn’t progress for a good outcome, he will end the effort, Green said. “We will call it (the study) and move on doing what we are doing now, chasing the current owner.”
Council members verbally supported the study.
“I think we have made it clear that area is a priority,” said Council President Kathryn Huffman.
Fellow council member Robert Schwab agreed. “This is a person who has strong experience in regional development. He is going to have a point of view as to what a master plan will look like in consultation with us as well as the community,” Schwab said.
Councilman Ryan Liddy said the study also could help the city with a long-term strategy for maintenance of properties and related issues.
The analysis is expected to take around three months.
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