Sunday, December 15, 2013

Council to Consider Phase Two of Downtown Development

A very different San Angelo City Council will accept the draft Downtown Development Master Plan document from Catalyst Urban Development this week.  Mayor Alvin New and a development oriented council approved engaging Catalyst in December 2012.  Council member Kendall Hirschfeld made the motion, while Charlotte Farmer provided the second for the unanimous vote.  That motion required city staff to bring back work product from any finished phase and obtain council's approval to proceed to the next.

At the time city leaders had not designated the source of funding.  This was several months after closing the Sexually Transmitted Disease clinic and drastically cutting immunizations due to "lack of funds."

In May 2013 Mayor New, Kendall Hirschfeld, Paul Alexander, Marty Self, Johnny Silvas and Charlotte Farmer voted for the four phase contract with Catalyst, while Don Vardeman voted against it.  The contract authorized $68,000 in consulting fees and $22,000 in reimbursable expenses for Phase 1, which was expected to take six to eight weeks.  To date the city paid $66,000 in fees and $7,200 in reimbursable  expenses. 

Phase One:  Downtown Master Development Strategies document

"Land use demand has been calculated for the downtown study area that includes demand for over 600 multifamily units across multiple residential densities, 6 new restaurants, and over 220,000 sf of new office space in various tenant configurations." 
The plan showed existing restaurants downtown. 

It will need to be updated to reflect Sealy Flats' closing.  I drove by Friday evening and was surprised to see Sealy Flats dark.  San Angelo's Chaos Marketing confirmed what I saw.

I'm not going to get in to the semantics of why Sealy Flats has closed down. I don't know the reason why and as many out there already have, I can only make an educated guess.
The report shows how projected population growth will drive the need for more downtown restaurants:

The study did not state where water will come from to supply 17,000 new citizens, but it did delineate a number should live along the Concho River:

Residential riverfront development "efforts should be economically incentivized to achieve initial catalytic investment."  The plan lists a myriad of financial methods to support or subsidize recommended development and concludes with:

This analysis suggests these efforts be particular to inducing restaurant, energy sector employment, and new housing over the next 10 years.

Council will accept this report and consider moving to Phase 2, which was originally proposed as:

Phase Two -- Upon approval from City of San Angelo, Catalyst will progress into the second phase.  To complete these tasks, Catalyst would receive $10,000 per month until project-related development agreement(s) are executed. It is anticipated that this will occur with a 6 month time period. If the City chooses to acquire property, Catalyst would be entitled a fee of 3% the purchase price as City’s consultant.
The City stands to pay out large amounts should it go forward in Phase Two with Catalyst.  I look forward to watching the presentation and council discussion. It could be very different or very similar to prior council discussions.

Update 12-16-17:  San Angelo Live did a story on Sealy Flats closing.

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