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Council poised to ink deal for first marina district project PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kristyn Halbig Ziehm   
Wednesday, 10 May 2017 20:58

Agreement would clear way for condos on car-trailer lot being sold by city

The Port Washington Common Council is expected to consider next week a developer’s agreement that will outline the remaining conditions architect Stephen Perry Smith needs to meet in order to build 11 condominium units on the city-owned car-trailer parking lot at the east end of Washington Street.

If the agreement and ultimate sale of the parking lot are approved, Smith’s townhouse development would become the first marina district proposal to be constructed.

Aldermen were originally expected to review the agreement at their May 2 meeting, but because the document wasn’t completed until shortly before the meeting, officials tabled the matter until the council’s May 16 meeting.

“We really need more time to look at it,” City Administrator Mark Grams told aldermen. “I don’t want to rush you into making a decision.”

Smith’s offer to purchase the property, which was accepted by the Common Council last month, called for the developer’s agreement to be approved by May 3, unless both sides approved another date. Aldermen agreed to postpone the date, but did not specify a new one.

Since last week’s meeting, officials have been working to amend the proposed developer’s agreement, Grams said.

That’s due in large part to the fact that the city, which had initially intended to move two sewer mains off the property, is now planning to keep one on the parcel but move the other.

Much of the developer’s agreement deals with the utility work, Grams noted.

The city’s engineering firm has determined the cost of moving a force main that crosses the parking lot into Lake Street is more difficult than expected, Grams said.  Consequently, it would cost the city about twice as much as expected.

The current plan is to keep the force main on the parking lot, moving it slightly to accommodate Smith’s design, and place an easement over it.

A gravity sewer on the property would still be moved out of the parking lot, Grams said.

The original estimate to move both sewer lines was between $250,000 and $300,000, Grams said. The change would bring the cost to about $200,000.

Grams said Tuesday that the city hopes to get bids for the utility work in time for council approval on June 6. 

Officials hope the sewer work will be completed in July, Grams said, adding that the sale of the parking lot to Smith will be finalized shortly after that.

Smith, who is not seeking incentives from the city for his project, will pay $140,000 for the car-trailer parking lot. Grams said the proposed agreement calls for Smith to begin construction of his project within six months after purchasing the property. If he doesn’t, the city has the option of buying the property back. 

In addition to moving the sewer lines, the city is to remediate the site so Smith’s buildings can be constructed there.

Grams noted that the remediation is expected to be minimal since the townhouses won’t have basements.

“We won’t know exactly how much it will be until he submits his foundation plan,” Grams said.

Amy Otis-Wilborn, 233 E. Pier St., told aldermen last week that she believes the city should not pay to have the sewer lines moved but instead pass the cost on to Smith.

“What about the developer taking on that cost?” she asked. “It’s a low price. It’s a prime piece of property.”

Smith told aldermen last week that he is comfortable delaying approval of the developer’s agreement until May 16, noting he is fine with the document.

However, he asked aldermen to also extend the June 16 closing date for the purchase.

“We need the approved developer’s agreement as part of our financing,” he said, adding a delay in signing the agreement could cause a financing delay.

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