Downtown developer seeks extension on shopkeepers
A California developer is asking the city of Yuma for a second extension on his plans to build five shopkeeper units in the downtown area.
Craig C. Clark simply needs more time to finish the long-awaited project, said Charles Flynn, the city's riverfront development manager. Clark has already been granted one extension on the 12,000-square-foot-project on the east side of Madison Avenue between 1st and 2nd streets.
The project was first approved by the Yuma City Council in 2001.
Shopkeepers are housing units that combine living quarters upstairs with working quarters downstairs.
They are part of the city's plan to inject more year-round activity into the downtown area. During joint riverfront master planning several years ago between the city and Clark-Lankford LLC, it was decided that promoting new residential development in the downtown would be one of the goals of the plan.
Under the original development agreement with the city, the city sold the land to Clark with the understanding that he would invest no less than $500,000 in three shopkeeper units within 18 months.
However, the plan hit a snag when Clark went out for construction bids that came in higher than financially feasible.
Clark then asked for an extra year to redesign the shopkeepers so they would be cheaper to build. As part of the extension agreement, Clark agreed to build five shopkeepers instead of the original three.
Unfortunately, Flynn said, no one realized at the time the extension was approved that by requiring five units, the project would come under the city's subdivision requirements.
Those requirements lengthened the process considerably, Flynn said. The subdivision process wasn't finished until November 2003.
During that time, Clark worked out a separate development agreement with the city to construct water and sewer improvements from 3rd Street to 1st Street at the same time as he builds the shopkeepers.
According to the staff report, Clark has secured local bank financing for the project and has an agreement with a local contractor to build the units. He also has secured approval from the city's Historic District Review Commission for the project.
The new agreement with the city increases Clark's required investment in the property to $1 million and has built-in benchmarks for Clark to show significant progress on the property or have it revert to the city.
The banks involved in the project also have asked that any finished shopkeepers be removed from the reversionary clause.
If the Yuma City Council approves the new agreement on Wednesday, Clark will have to complete one unit by Aug. 18, three units by Nov. 18 and all five units by March 19, 2005.
The council meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. at Yuma City Hall, One City Plaza.
Also on the council's agenda is a request to approve a development agreement with Steve Shadle and Jon Jessen for a date-packing plant called Datepac LLC at 2574 E. 23rd Lane.
The city is being asked to reimburse Datepac an annual payment equal to the increase in property tax on the parcel after it's improved. The reimbursement would run for no more than five years.
The city expects the annual reimbursement to be approximately $3,000 but it could go as high as $5,000 in the event taxes are higher, according to a staff report.
The report says that Datepac meets the minimal threshold requirements in terms of employment and capital investment to be eligible for financial help under the city's economic assistance policy.
T.M. Shultz can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6852.