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Council looks at potential infill site downtown

 

SARAH LOWERY

Staff Writer

 

Lincolnton City Council members discussed a potential infill development site on Court Square in downtown, though no official action was taken during Thursday’s meeting.

Business and Community Development Director Brad Guth presented council members with a draft Request for Proposals (RFP) for interested developers to transform the city-owned property, located at 103 E. Sycamore Street, into office, retail or residential space, preferably with a restaurant on the ground level.

He said the initiative to bring in the mixed-use project was part of a collaboration with the Downtown Development Association, and he noted that such a development would bring in jobs and tax and utility revenues, while also enhancing the downtown area.

The site is one of seven properties on the Business and Community Development Department’s “Lovable Lincolnton Possibility Tour,” having been envisioned as a potential residential loft and restaurant row.

Mayor John Gilleland said the idea for looking into marketing the property originated during a DDA meeting, when members decided to target one of the tour sites with the “best chance of having a success” and to get the ball rolling.

“I think that it’s a win-win for everybody,” Gilleland added.

He additionally noted that it would allow the city to increase its return on investment, and he asked Guth to make the process “as fair as possible” to allow developers the same opportunity to get the project.

Council member Devin Rhyne said a potential developer’s construction schedule should be a significant consideration down the road to prevent one from sitting on the property for an extended amount of time. He also encouraged Guth to speed up the projected timeline, which currently calls for the solicitation of proposals on Nov. 5, the response to written questions by Dec. 15, proposal submission by March 4 and the designation of a developer on May 15.

Though no vote was taken, Gilleland noted that the council had a positive view of the proposed development and requested that members get their feedback to Guth over the next few weeks as the process moves forward.

In other City Council action:

Council members unanimously signed off on funding $2,000 for next year’s Battle of Ramsour’s Mill Re-enactment.

Council members unanimously approved allotting $10,000 for a band for the 2013 Hog Happenin’. Guth noted that he was requesting the funding earlier this year to allow the DDA more time to try to secure a legacy band for the event.

Council members unanimously passed two budget amendments, one calling for the transfer of $47,195 from the fund balance to purchase leaf vacuums and another to transfer $31,410 from the Water and Sewer fund balance to allow for the exchange of a Muffin Monster sewage grinder.

 

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