- Ownership of site.
Many members of the DDA made it clear that they wanted to sell the property, and would not consider offers that would involve DDA ownership any longer than necessary. Paraphrasing one DDA member: “the DDA is not and should not be in the business of developing and managing real estate”.
- Financial Plan/ DDA Investment.
Several members of the DDA did not want to invest further in the property. Though the PC-CCT proposal included some financial information, it did not include details about where the money would come from (other than to suggest that the DDA invest $900k+ additional into the property that many in the DDA wished they had never purchased).
- Parking. Some DDA members felt the site must include additional parking for the downtown area.
- Daniels Addition. Some DDA members felt the Daniels addition should be demolished, either for aesthetic reasons, or to improve traffic, or to add some green space.
- Preservation Chelsea (PC) (a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization) discussed and voted not to pursue purchase, because it was beyond their core mission.
- At a PC-CCT meeting, several members agreed to form a new Limited Liability Corporation, with the expressed purpose of purchasing and redeveloping the former Longworth site through adaptive reuse of the buildings. Paperwork was filed in Lansing under the name The Chelsea Connection, LLC (TCC)
- Members of PC-CCT contacted Kincaid–Henry, a Lansing based adaptive reuse focused contractor/ developer, in hopes of encouraging their involvement in the project, either as a partner with TCC, LLC, or as a separate entity. TCC gave K-H a wealth of background information on the property.
- Allow the DDA to develop a clear vision for the site.
Numerous ideas and issues were discussed, but the DDA did not appear to emerge with a clear, written vision for the site.
- Introduce the Kincaid-Henry (K-H) team, and to share some of their initial ideas.
K-H discussed the potential for developing the property as an incubator for small businesses, with the DDA and/ or City continuing to own the property, but also discussed potential to purchase and develop the site through adaptive reuse of the buildings.
- Implementing streetscape improvements, including “bumpouts”, to quiet vehicular traffic and improve pedestrian safety.
- Providing pedestrian access to the municipal parking lot near the Purple Rose Theatre.
- Leasing/ purchasing/ developing former Palmer Ford parking lot (south of the Palmer Auto Service building and lot.
In his letter, Pollock wrote that the developers could not accept the additional condition set forth by the Downtown Development Authority on June 7, which included a letter of credit for $1 million from a bank by the end of a 90-day period.
"In particular, the letter of credit, the short due diligence period, and reverter are unrealistic and unreasonable and we will not undertake the business risks to proceed under these conditions," Pollock wrote.
The potential $3.7 million development would have turned the buildings at the Longworth property into a mixed-use set of buildings, which would have included a restaurant, lofts and a pottery studio, as well as an outdoor plaza.
October 29, 2013