With Destination Madison parking projects nearing completion, $50,000 in final funding was approved by Madison’s Redevelopment Commission at its meeting on Friday.
Tony Steinhardt III, the city’s economic development director, said the Mulberry Street Arts Corridor project, the U.S. 421 Gateway Park project and the Main Street Comfort Station parking are slated to be nearly completed by Memorial Day weekend with final touches by the middle of June.
The city received Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI) funds for the projects — $916,984 for the Mulberry Street project and $718,342 for the city’s US 421 bridge gateway from Kentucky. But Steinhardt noted the additional $50,000 was needed for minor changes and a few unforeseen circumstances in the projects. Compared to the overall size of the projects, Steinhardt noted the amount was a small change order. “Those READI projects really didn’t have any contingency” for unexpected costs, he said.
With the approaching completion of the parking lot at the northeast corner of Mulberry and Second streets, Steinhardt said there are plans to make the same improvements at the parking lot on the southwest corner of Mulberry and Second streets — the former JayC Grocery Store lot now owned by the city.
Redevelopment Commission President John Grote asked Madison Mayor Bob Courtney for an update on prospects for a new grocery operator which the city has been pursuing for downtown Madison. There hasn’t been a downtown grocery since the Ruler Foods closed March 31, 2018. In early 2021, the city purchased the building at 120 East Second Street with hopes of facilitating efforts to again utilize the 10,000 square foot building for a grocery.
“On the grocery store, do you think that is still projected for this year?” Grote asked.
Courtney said the city is currently negotiating with a potential operator. “The goal is to go through their real estate committee process in the month of May. So, in the June meeting we’ll have an update on the grocery store. And then the economic development process with that developer and operator will begin,” he said.
Courtney said the city plans to sell the property for the $525,000 the city paid for the property. “That’s subject to working on an economic development agreement,” he said. “It’s going to be a multi-million dollar investment by this operator. So, we’ll work with them to attract the highest return for us, but the highest level of investment for them that accomplishes our goal of bringing in a downtown market to fruition. So, that still has a lot of moving parts to it.”
Steinhardt emphasized the importance of a downtown grocery for the city, noting it is the “number one priority.”
In other business:
• Approved a contract to All-Star Paving at $146,526.50 for improvements to the Franks Drive intersection at Clifty Drive/State Road 62 which Steinhardt said is less than the engineer’s estimate for the project. The intersection improvements are in anticipation of a Culver’s restaurant that is slated to be built at 2481 Franks Drive with closing on that property anticipated to take place later this month. With that in mind, the board’s approval followed Steinhardt’s recommendation that authorization be given to Courtney to sign the contract, but not until after the closing takes place.
Courtney said intersection improvements “are an important element in attracting new development.” He noted that the work will make the intersection safer for Ivy Tech Community College Madison and retail businesses that are already there and “it’s also critical for another multi-million dollar investment that’s going to be there that is part of this whole synergy we’re getting from the Sunrise Crossing development” that is attracting “millions of dollars of new investment in our community.”
• Approved a resolution for Reedy Financial Group to begin the decrement process to evaluate land in the city and better determine value. Steinhardt noted, for example, that in the past the city received $60,000 in revenue from Madison Coal Company properties, but after city bought that property, it no longer receives anything. So, that needs to be released and re-set to $0.
“Our job as a Redevelopment Commission is to invest money to improve the value and quality of life,” said Courtney. Inside these allocation areas are parcels, and it’s a process of ensuring they provide the maximum value to the TIF district and the community. “This just literally is a technical process that we have to do and keep on track on that helps us get the most impact out of our TIF district.”
• Approved a time extension change order for the Michigan Road pump station that’s part of the Shoppes at Sunrise Crossing and Residences at Sunrise Crossing projects. Steinhardt said the project has taken longer than anticipated because additional rock formations was encountered and control systems arrived late due to supply chain issues. Steinhardt said the control boards are anticipated to arrive in early August so that pump station should be operational by September.
Steinhardt updated that all four stores at the Shoppes at Sunrise Crossing are now under construction with TJ Maxx and Five Below the closest to completion followed by Hobby Lobby and Kohls, the most recent store on which work was begun. He said “I can’t give you specific dates or times” when stores will be open but he expects most of them to be operating by late fall and “well in advance of the holiday season.” He said the out-parcels have space for additional retail and restaurants which he anticipated announcements on soon.
• Approved an appraisal that was done on an easement for Duke Energy across property at JA Berry Lane and Shun Pike Road that goes across a city-owned parcel. Duke Energy will be burying lines across the city parcel of land at JA Berry Lane that goes to Wilson Avenue. As it turns out, Duke only needed a 15-foot easement with the appraisal at $1,000 which Duke agreed to pay
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