Officials settle on price for car-trailer lot, expect to ink $250,000 deal for adjacent Blues Factory site next month
Architect Stephen Perry Smith will pay the City of Port Washington $140,000 for the car-trailer parking lot at the east end of Washington and Pier street, City Attorney Eric Eberhardt told the Common Council Tuesday.
“We’ve agreed fundamentally on price,” Eberhardt said, adding most of the other terms and conditions of the potential purchase have been agreed upon by the city and Smith.
Despite the fact Tuesday’s Common Council’s agenda listed potential approval of the offer to purchase the lot, Eberhardt said negotiations are not concluded.
The two sides are still continuing discussions on the potential remediation of the property, which is across the street from the north slip parking lot where the Blues Factory is slated to be built, he said.
“I know Mr. Smith is eager beyond words to complete that (purchase),” Eberhardt said. “We’ve been working hard at this.”
The council on Tuesday hired Konicek Environmental to prepare a remediation plan for the property for a cost estimated to be $1,500.
“This is an essential step to go forward,” Eberhardt said, noting that earlier tests showed some relatively minor contamination similar to that on the Blues Factory site.
Randy Tetzlaff, the city’s director of planning and development, noted that the contamination found on the car trailer lot is “not nearly as bad” as that on the north marina slip parking lot where the Blues Factory is expected to be built.
The sale of the car-trailer parking lot is to be the second sale of a city-owned lakefront lot in the next several months.
The city is expected to sell the parking lot for the Blues Factory for $250,000 to Port developer Gertjan van den Broek next month, according to the developer’s agreement.
The city on Tuesday also completed its work excavating the parking lot to find the location of the tie backs that hold the seawall in place — another requirement for the sale of the lot.
On Monday, crews excavated about half the lot to find the tie backs, Public Works Director Rob Vanden Noven said. But after the crew left for the day, City Administrator Mark Grams was told by a Department of Natural Resources official that the excavated dirt could not be left overnight — even with erosion controls in place — but instead needed to be covered or placed back in the trench.
The crew was called back to the lot and worked until about 9 p.m. to place the dirt back in the trench and cover it with six inches of clean gravel, as the DNR required, Vanden Noven said, adding any leftover soil will be landfilled.
The city and Smith have exchanged offers and counteroffers for the car-trailer lot at least three times, Eberhardt said, adding he believes negotiations can be completed by the council’s Wednesday, April 5, meeting.
Eberhardt noted that the sale could be closed by the end of May, adding that a developers agreement will also be ready by the closing date.
Smith has proposed constructing three buildings with 11 townhouse condominiums on the lot, a project he said would be valued at $4.4 million when completed.
Eberhardt said Smith is not seeking any developer’s incentives for his project.
“They have not sought any form of public incentives,” he said.
However, he said, the city has agreed to relocate several sewer lines and mains to accommodate the project. This work will be paid through the tax incremental financing district.
Smith told aldermen Tuesday that he is already working on the marketing campaign for the project, which will be called Lake Pointe.
He added that he is in the process of refining the final building details and expects to send the project out for bids in April.
“We’re very excited about it. We trust the deal will get done,” Smith said. “We’ll be at the gate ready to go.
“Timing is key for us. We want to get the building in the ground as soon as possible.”
Smith noted that he already has a buyer for one of the units, “and we haven’t even started marketing yet.”
Ald. Dave Larson, noting the city has been criticized for the many closed sessions it has held during the past year, said this deal shows why these sessions are needed.
The council needs to be able to negotiate price and work with the developer during these meetings, Larson said.
“Now that we’ve got the price established, we’re able to come out and talk about this,” he said.
The Lake Pointe project is just one of several major developments proposed along the Port Washington lakefront.
In addition to the controversial Blues Factory entertainment complex, the other projects include two proposals by Ansay Development — one to construct an apartment building on the former Victor’s site next to the Lake Pointe project and the other to convert the NewPort Shores restaurant into a six-story mixed-use building known as Marina Shores.