Port council approves document that will be used to seek proposals for property off north slip
Port Washington aldermen on Tuesday approved the document they will use to seek development proposals for a lakefront parking lot off the north slip that the city owns.
Aldermen praised the document for its simplicity, which they said allows for a variety of uses to be proposed for the site.
“I like the way it’s written, short and sweet,” Ald. Dan Becker said.
Like the proposal for the Cedar Vineyard subdivision on the city’s south side, the city has taken care with the request for proposals to ensure the public will continue to have access to the lakefront, Becker noted.
“I look at this and, yes, we’re looking at potential development here but the harborwalk remains,” he said. “The public will have access to the waterfront.”
At the same time, it allows the city to move forward a development proposal with the potential to have a major economic impact on the downtown, Mayor Tom Mlada said.
“That lot is the one strategic redevelopment site we own,” he said. “We can still do things like this that have the right economic impact on the city.”
The controversial plan to sell the city property has already elicited one proposal from developers Chris Long of Madison and Gertjan van den Broek of Port Washington, who said they want to create a Paramount Blues-themed museum, restaurant, performance space and banquet hall on the property.
City officials expect to receive a number of proposals for the land, noting about a half-dozen firms have called to ask about the property.
The request for proposals approved Tuesday allows developers to either buy or lease the land, noting the appraised value of the property is $575,000 but terms are negotiable.
The request for proposals asks that any development meet the city criteria, said Randy Tetzlaff, the city’s director of planning and development.
It should be a destination that makes efficient use of the site, seamlessly integrates the streetscape, landscape and the harbor walk and will have a catalytic economic impact on downtown.
It should adhere to the city’s master redevelopment plan, which calls for a commercial and retail use in a building that’s no more than two stories tall and the building design should honor the existing urban fabric.
The property is currently zoned central business district, which allows for a variety of commercial and residential uses, the request notes.
Anyone submitting a development proposal is required to include an architectural plan, a detailed project schedule, completed value of the project and a resume of the development team and its experience, the request states. They must also submit any special assistance required for the project and information demonstrating they have the wherewithal to fund the project.
The request for proposals is expected to go out to developers once a preliminary environmental assessment for the property is completed.
After that, developers will have 75 days to submit their proposals.
The proposals will be reviewed by a committee comprised of members of the Community Development Authority and city staff, who will determine which developers will be invited to interviews.
The CDA will interview the developers, and their concepts will be reviewed by the Plan Commission and Design Review Board.
Based on their input, the CDA will recommend a developer to the Common Council.
Although the request for proposals currently calls for proposals to be due on June 5 and the Common Council to award a contract around July 7, that timeline may be delayed depending on when the environmental assessment is completed, Tetzlaff said.