|Posted by Anne Siren on December 22, 2012 at 2:30 PM|
By Michael d’Oliveira
Wilton Manors – City commissioners here hoped to get a hotel proposal to develop the Hagen Park/City Hall parking lot as part of a public/private partnership. Instead, the only firm to submit a bid envisions a residential/commercial development on the four-acre site.
IBI, a Pompano Beach architecture and engineering company, has proposed a mixed-use complex that includes residential and commercial space.
But city officials have declined to release IBI’s specific proposal for public review. State statute 119.071 exempts bids from public requests for up to 30 days after a bid is opened. IBI executives have also declined to discuss the bid.
But The Pelican has learned that IBI proposed a minimum of 120 residential units and has named the development “Wilton Village Residences & Commons.”
If approved, it could be open as early as the end of 2014.
Although a boutique hotel was the city’s preferred plan, the bid request left room for alternative proposals.
Mayor Gary Resnick had previously complained that the city’s lack of hotels was hurting efforts to attract tourists.
Now, commissioners must approve or reject the bid after talks with IBI.
In 2010, the city turned down a bid from Gables Residential to develop the site.
Officials wanted to tie the development to a federal grant that would have allowed the city to take over and transform Wilton Drive into two-lanes. The plan was to have Gables pay the city’s portion of the matching funding included in the grant requirements. But failing to get approval, the city walked away from Gables’ proposal.
Because the new proposed development would be on public land, city officials and IBI will have to work out the details of a partnership that could possibly include the cost and length of IBI’s lease on the property and an agreement on how to share the revenue generated from the parking structure.
The required parking structure must have a minimum of 300 spaces for public use. The present number of spaces is 213.
The city also requires LEED energy efficiency and environmental certification for the project. The mixed-use project can have up to five stories or a maximum height of 60 feet. Twenty-five percent of the property must be used for open space.
That was a bone of contention for two residents because the bid request allows Hagen Park’s retention area to be considered as part of the development.
Former mayor John Fiore and Paul Kuta say the development will ruin access to Hagen. “They’re giving part of the park away so that the developer doesn’t have to provide any open space,” said Fiore. “We’re deficient in park land as it is.”
City hall, the police station and Hagen Park’s basketball court are not part of the proposed development area.
Randy Welker, economic development coordinator, said a committee would review the bid before it goes to commissioners. “We have a committee we will call together after Christmas, and they will look at the proposal,” Welker said. He estimates the issue will go before the commission sometime in February.