In April, two teams submitted competing development proposals to the city for the vacant property at 1402 S. Park St. Now they’re asking to pause proceedings while they combine their proposals.
That will allow for a larger, more comprehensive master plan of the area, which might be easier on the neighborhood as well, according to one of the developers.
The city owns the 3.5 acre property at 1402 S. Park St., formerly the Truman Olson United States Army Reserve Center, next to a Pick 'n Save grocery store. The city purchased the property in 2012, and says the appraised value is now between $1,875,000 and $2,125,000.
Welton Enterprises and a Hovde Properties/SSM Health team responded to a city request for proposals to develop the property. As the proposals began to go through the public meeting process, the teams were encouraged to work collaboratively, said Brandon King, director of facilities management at SSM Health Dean Medical Group.
Welton Enterprises and Hovde/SSM both own property near the Truman Olson site. By combining their plans for those properties, instead of focusing on just the 3.5-acre Truman Olson site, the two development teams can create a master plan for approximately 20-acres, said King, which could mean a “more seamless and meaningful neighborhood review and city approval process."
The city is "looking for a proposal that takes into account as much of the area as possible," said Dan Rolfs, community development project manager for the city, which will hopefully provide a "more holistic approach."
Last year, the city issued a request for proposal for 1402 S. Park St. with several goals for the property, including connecting Cedar Street to Appleton Road, keeping a grocery store in the area, increasing the tax base and developing workforce housing.
The $45 million Hovde/SSM plan proposed a 40,000-square-foot grocery store with a 40,000-square-foot medical clinic above it. A separate building, separated by 344 parking stalls, would feature 20,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space including a 5,000-square-foot pharmacy with a three-story 48-unit apartment complex above.
Welton Enterprises provided two options. The first would provide significantly more apartments than the Hovde/SSM plan, with 100 market-rate apartments and 72 billed as workforce housing, as well as a 25,000 square-foot grocery store, over 7,600 square feet of office or clinic space, and 275 parking stalls.
Their second proposal calls for just 72 workforce housing units, 160 parking stalls and the 25,000 square-foot grocery store.
Both Welton Enterprise proposals could redevelop the Pick N’ Save next door at 1312 S. Park St., as Welton owns the property.
According to the minutes from a May 3 selection committee meeting, Ald. Sara Eskrich noted that both plans accomplish city goals for a grocery store, employment uses and market and workforce housing.
The city had some concerns with the plans, on topics like stormwater runoff and financial feasibility, Rolfs said. Both proposals requested “substantial” city financial assistance through TIF, land write-offs and affordable housing and the city had “fairly serious concerns about that,” he said.
The Hovde/SSM proposal would include a TIF request for $4 million and a land write-down for as much as $1.9 million. The larger Welton proposal included a TIF request of over $7 million, a $600,000 to $900,000 land write-down and over $1 million from the city’s Affordable Housing Funds.
The city RFP calls for extending Cedar Street to provide a connection from South Park Street to Fish Hatchery Road, but some neighbors have expressed concern about cut-through traffic.
A combined proposal may help address some of those concerns, King said, like “roadway connectivity, storm water management and other infrastructure improvements.”
The master plan would include the Truman Olson site, about 13 acres of land owned by SSM in the area and adjacent third-party land. SSM’s 13 acres includes an existing clinic and parking lot at 1313 Fish Hatchery Road, a parking lot south of the existing clinic and residential properties near the clinic. SSM hasn’t determined whether they would demolish, move or retain those houses, King said.
SSM has been planning to replace their existing Fish Hatchery clinic for years, King said. The Hovde/SSM proposal for the Truman Olson site showed plans for a new clinic or administrative building slightly further south on Fish Hatchery Road, and a parking deck on its current parking lot, but King called previous planning “very conceptual.”
Asked whether a combined proposal will allow Hovde/SSM to expand to the Pick N’ Save site owned by Welton, King said that was “yet to be determined.”
The development teams asked for a 30-day pause to draft a memorandum of understanding “to formally outline what this would look like,” Rolfs said.
Because of the delay, yesterday’s scheduled Truman Olson Selection Committee Meeting was cancelled. There are already meetings scheduled for June 21 and July 18, and the city will work to ensure that the next meeting gives the teams enough time to adequately respond to concerns, Rolfs said.
Thirty days will allow for a “formulated,” but not fully complete joint plan, King said, and the team hopes to finish planning and design work on the master plan late this year or in early 2019.
"I am very pleased to see collaboration from the development teams," Eskrich said in an email. "I look forward to seeing their revised proposal. This area deserves a thoughtful, collaborative, and community-oriented approach to redevelopment."