Roach: Two factors to consider before choosing development plan

By By Lance Traweek / American Press

With the City Council set to decide

between three proposals for the old downtown Sears property, Mayor Randy

Roach said there

are two factors the City Council will have to consider: Who will

make the best offer to the city, and who will offer the most

to downtown development.

“One is subjective and one is

objective,” Roach said. “The first will be how much money, and the

second will be which development

will have the greatest economic impact on the downtown area. We’re

not only looking for a development to occupy the city block,

but a development that will attract even more development

downtown. This is an important factor to make a final decision.”

Roach said that even though the property has been listed for several years, the interest in it increased after people recognized

the commitment the city was making to downtown with the Ryan streetscape project.

“Downtown is much more than the Sears

property. Ultimately, we would like to connect the lakefront with

downtown,” he said.

“Right now we have a tendency to talk about them separately, but

we want to create a sense of community between the lakefront

and downtown.”

He hopes to achieve this by creating pedestrian corridors.

Roach reiterated that the three proposals are for mixed-use developments, which mainly means commercial retail on the first

floor and residential on the upper floors.

“That is a common design, and it has been very effective in the downtown market,” Roach said. “Each residential area has its

own targeted market and appeal. The downtown living and that lifestyle tends to attract young professionals looking for a

place to live.”

Roach said some site improvements may have to take place.

“Land preparations may have to happen

for site development,” Roach said. “There may have to be foundation

improvements to

support a multi-story building. As best we can tell there are

adequate utilities in place for the development of the building.”

He said he does not think there will be any major projects from the city to make improvements to accommodate the development.

The City Council intends to make a decision on one of the three proposals at its regular meeting Nov. 7.