The city of Springfield wants more information from developers of a proposed $56 million downtown hotel-apartment complex that would be built with $7.65 million in public money via tax increment financing.
The subsidy includes $450,000 that would be paid to buy land before construction begins on property where Club Station House now stands on Washington Street. During Tuesday’s committee-of-the-whole council meeting, corporation counsel Jim Zerkle told aldermen that he’s been talking to lawyers for the developer, particularly with regard to the “scope of work.”
“That is what I’ve been trying to pin down with their lawyer: Has there actually been a change that would be substantial enough that it would require further action (by the city)?” Zerkle said. “That’s the information I’ve been waiting on, and the attorney indicated to me that they would have the information back. I thought they’d indicated sometime this week. I haven’t seen it as of yet.”
After public money was approved, the developer circulated a prospectus to potential investors that put the number of apartment units at either 28 or 30, substantially more than the developer told the council. The city has said that no money will be released to buy land until construction financing is guaranteed. Zerkle said that is part of discussions he’s been having with the developer. “Right now, what’s really being discussed is a little bit of the timing and our position that nothing can happen until they have guaranteed funding,” Zerkle said. “That’s the real part here that has been, if you will, much, I would say, under discussion with their attorney.”
Ward 7 Joe McMenamin said the council shouldn’t have approved subsidies without a development agreement spelling out details and shouldn’t write checks until the project is done. He noted that the council in January approved an ordinance barring release of TIF money until projects are finished.
“We should stick with our plan,” McMenamin said. “We don’t know what we’re voting for if we don’t see a redevelopment agreement.”
Ward 9 Ald. Jim Donelan agreed that having a development agreement in place would be a good idea.
“I sure would like to see a copy of a redevelopment agreement,” Donelan said. I think the corporation counsel would love to have redevelopment agreements.”