Batavia aldermen vote against new deal with One North Washington developer
Batavia aldermen voted 7-6 Tuesday, at a committee meeting, against allowing a developer to revise a redevelopment agreement and building plans for the One North Washington apartment and public parking garage project, and to front $2 million more for its construction.
The vote was preliminary; a binding vote will be taken Monday. And the outcome could change, if Alderman Susan Stark, who was absent Tuesday, is present then and votes in favor. Mayor Jeff Schielke could then vote to break a tie.
Several of the aldermen who voted "no" said they would not have voted for the project in the first place if the initial design were what is now being proposed.
The new proposal calls for nine more apartments, seven fewer parking spaces and no stores along Wilson Street.
The city council approved a redevelopment agreement with the developer in September 2016, agreeing to essentially give Shodeen Inc. several pieces of property, for which the city spent at least $1.5 million, and to loan a minimum of $14 million and as much as $16 million for the project. An estimated $12 million would go to build the public parking, which the city will end up owning.
The city will borrow the money it supplies; under the current agreement, it is to be repaid by property taxes generated by the development.
It approved the building design, despite much public opposition, in May.
The project was roughly estimated to cost $40 million. But when Shodeen sought construction bids in the spring, it discovered it had used an incorrect, lower price for the construction of the spaces in the parking garage, and that the whole project was likely to cost $6 million to $8 million more than it expected.
Shodeen then told the city it wouldn't build the project unless it could put in more apartments and eliminate some of the parking spaces and some of the commercial space. The city then requested information about the profitability of the project and hired a consultant to review the information.
The financial documents the developer submitted to the city to make the case for more aid are not available to the public, because the financial information is considered proprietary.
The city's consultant said Shodeen's calculations on profitability were "not excessive" by area market standards.
Several members of the public spoke against the deal, saying the developer has had a history of trying to renegotiate deals in other area towns, including St. Charles, DeKalb and Aurora.