Council on Monday night unanimously approved the first reading of an ordinance amendment that would allow Grand Landing to be developed with apartments, hotels and other retail.
"This is not our first rodeo," developer Chris Piwowarczyk of Red Star Shores LLC said. "We don't look at injecting $100 million into a project without the strong likelihood of success."
The development comes to City Council after months of tweaks by the city’s Planning Commission and council itself to find a solution for the site that all parties could agree.
The project would be broken into several phases and be market-driven, developers say.
Red Star’s development would include both residential and commercial elements, such as:
• A hotel and restaurants/retail on the site’s east end.
• A maximum of 10 12-unit and two 24-unit apartment buildings.
• Unifying elements to complement the existing development.
• A walkway near the river's edge.
"We build as quickly as we can with regards to leasing,” Piwowarczyk said. “As we build and lease up, we are staying one step ahead. We envision the hotel and restaurants breaking ground this summer as we are breaking ground on phase 1 (of the apartments)."
Mayor Geri McCaleb noted that the project is a far cry from what had been on the site many years ago.
"I remember coming across that bridge for years looking at that old dilapidated Road Commission building," she said. "This was a contaminated piece of property and it needed redevelopment."
McCaleb said the economic downturn in 2008 negatively affected the project that was planned by the original developers, and said that apartments are now the best available solution.
"It's not that easy to sell condos, unless you have a lot of money," she said. "People aren't going to build something you can't easily sell."
City officials also noted that the developer bought the property with the intent of building apartments.
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