Item #3 – Vineyard PIF Covenant and PIC Operating Agreement – Vince Colarelli
Mr. Jim Rees, CSURA Executive Director, introduced Mr. Paul Benedetti, legal counsel for the Vineyard Property URA. Mr. Benedetti proceeded to give a detailed overview of both the PIF and the PIC documents. He clarified that the current copy of both agreements is still in draft format. He is waiting on comments from Iron Point, the project’s financial partner, as well as comments from Authority members; which will be discussed today.
Commissioner Neville asked for clarification on several points on both documents. Mr. Benedetti answered questions and made notes for suggested changes to the documents. Commissioner Raughton specifically asked if there was any information from the El Paso County Assessor’s office being withheld from CSURA. It was verified that all the information from the Assessor’s office has been made readily available.
As the discussion began to wind down, Mr. Benedetti stated that Authority members should feel free to send any further questions or comments to himself or to Jim Rees.
Chairperson Wood-Ellis directed questions to Mr. Colarelli concerning several points related to the Vineyard Property Project in relation to the annual fee due to CSURA along with the financial plan for the project as well as the status of design standards required in the Redevelopment Agreement. Mr. Colarelli responded that the final documents were signed with Iron Point just two weeks ago.He is in the process of working the final details out on an agreement with T5 Partners who will be responsible for implementing the project branding; manage the project property as well as conducting a major campaign for advertising the project all within the next month.
He further stated that Phase 1 will include the clearing of the property, fencing the property and making the agreed-upon improvements to the Janitell intersection. There will be a local and national groundbreaking event here in Colorado Springs in January. National media coverage is expected with this event and Mr. Colarelli invited Authority members to attend.
At this time there are approximately 104 prospective tenants, both local and national, interested in investing in the project. Mr. Colarelli is expecting to finalize the operating budget next week and then will be ready to complete the financial plan budget. Chairman Wood-Ellis requested that the payment to CSURA be expended prior to the end of 2012. Mr. Colarelli stated his expectation was to have all budgets in place prior to the end of the year and once that is done CSURA is top of the list for payment.
Chairman Wood-Ellis further stated that if payment is not made in the near future that staff will be directed to end work on the Vineyard Property Project. Mr. Colarelli acknowledged his understanding and reiterated that he is waiting on his partners’ approval before the release of any funds to CSURA. It was then reported that the project is going beyond the norm for landscaping and other amenities. The focus is for a quality year-round look for the entire site.
Commissioner Hente entered the meeting at 12:20 p.m.
Item #4 – City’s Economic Development Strategy Presentation
City Attorney Chris Melcher touted the benefits of Urban Renewal Authorities in communities. He further stated that CSURA is very well respected by the City Administration. He gave a synopsis of the events that led up to Mayor Bach’s request for an inspection of CSURA’s records and practices. He made reference to the North Nevada bonds and CSURA’s current situation of defaulting on the bond payments. He then suggested that in the future CSURA could require developers/retailers to supply retail sales information in a project area, so as not be totally dependent on consultant’s revenue projections before entering into the selling of project bonds.
Mr. Melcher further reviewed the points made in the final report concerning the inspection of CSURA noting that the City will consider providing the following to CSURA in the future:
Supplemental Legal Support
Planning Staff Support for things such as blight studies
Mr. Melcher encouraged CSURA and the City to work together toward a coherent vision for redevelopment in Colorado Springs with a focus on Mayor Bach’s three economic priority zones; Southeast Colorado Springs (primarily South Academy Boulevard), Downtown and UCCS/Austin Bluffs/ Nevada Avenue area. The Mayor is expected to take the lead within the next 2-3 weeks with sharing these priority zones with the community. It is hoped that there will be agreement on the part of CSURA to work on the top priorities together with the City.
CSURA then asked if there might be some consideration given to assisting with their current budget shortfall through a line of credit as that scenario has been established in the past. CSURA paid back the loan with interest. Mr. Melcher stated he would take the request back to the City Administration for consideration but was making no promises.
CSURA staff asked who would be the contact person for follow-up on office space and project assistance. Mr. Melcher stated he would contact Chief of Staff Laura Neumann to see who would be assigned the task of looking for available office space. It was then decided that Mr. Bob Cope would be our interim contact.
Mr. Melcher handed the floor over to Mr. Cope, Economic Vitality. Mr. Cope distributed information concerning the 2013 Budget goals for Economic Vitality, detailing four breakthrough strategies on contacting local employers on a quarterly basis to assist with the support of their success and gaining feedback, encouraging K-12 and local colleges, build community and improve the local economy. He stated that one of the Mayor’s goals is to be “the most business friendly community”. Mr. Cope also shared the high points of a plan to improve the Southeast sector of our city. The plan is still in draft format so he did not distribute the document.
Item #5 – Economic Impact Report Presentation to City Council, November 26, 1 p.m.
Jim Rees reported that the 2012 CSURA Impact Report would be presented at Informal City Council on Monday, November 26th and encouraged as many Authority members as possible to attend the presentation.
Item #6 – Executive Session
It was decided not to go into closed session at this meeting.
Item #7 – Other Matters
Chairperson Wood-Ellis reported that Mayor Bach had contacted Mr. Knowles concerning the negotiations currently in progress over a piece of property in the Southwest Downtown URA. The Mayor urged Mr. Knowles to cooperate with the negotiation process.
Commissioner Shonkwiler interjected his concerns over the idea of using imminent domain on a property owned by a private citizen for the benefit of redevelopment by a private developer. He further stated that he had looked at the site plan for the Arts District and suggested that the developer could still develop the property around the property in negotiations. Chairprson Wood-Ellis explained that the developer was not inclined to invest a great deal of money into a project where an unsightly warehouse was sitting in the middle of the new development. Commissioner Palermo suggested that the developer consider other options for this development.
Jim Rees reported that the financial budget picture had improved slightly, however it was not a significant increase. He stated that staff would bring back a draft budget for Authority members to review at the November 28th CSURA meeting. Commissioner Shonkwiler requested that there be two budget versions presented; one best case scenario and one worst case scenario.
Item #8 - Adjournment
There being no further business to come before the Commissioners, motion was made by Commissioner Venezia, seconded by Commissioner Hente to adjourn the meeting. Upon unanimous vote, the meeting was declared adjourned at 1:37 p.m.