Friday, July 13, 2007

City council will call bowling congress, examine Exchange Place plans and talk budget

Real Development's plan to turn several downtown buildings into high-dollar condos is about to get one of the last go-ahead signals it needs before developers can start building. The city council votes Tuesday whether to accept the project plan.

Under the proposal, the city would buy three downtown buildings, turn them over to Real Development and build a public parking garage with 150 monthly and hourly spaces. Altogether, that would cost $6 million in property tax money that would otherwise be split among the city, county and school district. The structures included are the Exchange Place Building, Michigan Building, Lerner's Building and a parking lot near Douglas and Market. The city would buy them for $2.25 million and give them to Real Development (AKA The Minnesota Guys), which would convert them into condos that would sell for an average of $200,000. Under the proposed agreement, Real Development would have to cover any costs that the TIF doesn't generate. That is supposed to protect the city's coffers if the project falls short.
(Check out the council agenda for more on the Exchange Place project and other city business.)

And, at some point Tuesday, Mayor Carl Brewer and Vice Mayor Sharon Fearey will have a teleconference with representatives of the United States Bowling Congress, which decided to back out of their plans to have a huge tournament at Century II in 2011. The bowlers have set some ground rules about what topics they'll discuss during the conversation, so it's unclear how much information might come out of it.

Following the council meeting, there will be a discussion about the 2008-2009 budget. There are other public meetings on the budget as well.

July 16 – Evening presentation to all six district advisory boards, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the council chamber (televised live on the city’s cable Channel 7).
July 17 - Public comment at council meeting. A workshop will follow.
July 24 - Set total dollars levied and take public comment at council meeting. A workshop will follow.
Aug. 7 – Public comment at council meeting. A workshop will follow.
Aug. 14 - Official public hearing and adoption of the of the 2008 budget at the council meeting.

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