Making Progress : City Manager Ambrosino Forwards Salvation Army Building RFP to Council

City Manager Tom Ambrosino has forwarded a draft Request for Proposals (RFP) to the City Council for review and possible approval when the body re-convenes in late summer.

The Salvation Army building was taken by the City after it went vacant and seemingly had not viable plans. It is a key property in the City’s hopes to revitalize the downtown, and the RFP from Ambrosino has been long in the coming.

Now, the bones of that five-page RFP have become public and the vision is a mixed-use affordable housing project with a retail component. Ambrosino has suggested that the City apply for zoning relief to build 16 units on top of the existing store. That, he suggested, would reduce the cost for any developer that wins designation for the site.

“I’m happy we are making some progress, and I hope to have an RFP ready for advertisement in the Fall,” he said.

The RFP explains that on the first floor, “the City envisions retail space that enlivens the streetscape, offers opportunities for small, locally owned businesses and entrepreneurs, and yields community benefits.”

The City is hoping that there could be new construction on top of the existing one-story store, with an affordable housing or mixed-income approach. The RFP encourages developers to be creating in helping to solve the City’s housing shortage and also bring life to what has been a troubled area for a long time.

“Projects shall aspire to increase the social and economic vitality of the central business district,” read the RFP. “Searching for an innovative, exciting project, the City desires an architecturally attractive and lively project that will result in positive, cascading effects throughout the central business district, while providing an inviting and alluring atmosphere for residents and the community.”

The RFP calls for a robust community process from any developer that wins the right to develop the property.

Also, the sale price has been suggested to be somewhere around $1.34 million, which was the appraised value in 2017.

An exciting process to complement the downtown initiatives are expected this fall.

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