Deadline extended for Blues Factory deal

City, developer now have until June 22 to finalize purchase agreement for controversial lakefront project 

Port Washington aldermen on Tuesday extended the deadline to reach a developer’s agreement for the Blues Factory entertainment venue until June 22.
    The purchase agreement between the city and the Blues Factory Inc. called for the developer’s agreement to be approved by Tuesday.
    However, City Administrator Mark Grams said that officials received the latest version of the agreement from developer Chris Long Tuesday afternoon and needed more time to review it.
    Long’s attorney, Bruce McIlnay, told aldermen that his client agreed to an extension.
    Aldermen agreed on May 17 to sell the parking lot at the end of the north slip for the Paramount blues-themed entertainment complex.
    But the conditions of the sale included reaching a developer’s agreement by June 7 unless the deadline was extended by mutual agreement.
    That agreement is to include a $1 million incentive payment from the city, which is to go toward acquisition and redevelopment of the property. The agreement will also cover the use of public financing sources, such as tax incremental funding.
    The agreement reached by the city also calls for Long to purchase the lot for $250,000, and the sale must be finalized by Aug. 31.
    Long said last month he is confident he can meet the terms of the sale and is looking forward  to breaking ground on the project in September and opening the Blues Factory next June, ahead of an August festival being planned for the centennial of Paramount Records.
    The Blues Factory would contain a restaurant, banquet hall, Paramount Records museum and a performance space while expanding the public sidewalk along the lake.
    The sale of the parking lot has been controversial, with opponents saying the city should not sell public lakefront land.  
    However, those favoring the sale say it will pave the way for needed economic development, creating a year-round tourist destination that will serve as a catalyst for other development downtown. Daily



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