Thursday, January 14, 2010

Project Update and Stuff

We reopened the roads throughout the Village development just days before Christmas and right before the first snow fall. Unfortunately, the asphalt plants closed before we could get that final surface coat on so the construction crew tried to blend the road surface with the manholes as much as possible. Unfortunately, that didn't prevent snow plows from knocking them open the first time they passed through . . . hence, the current orange pylons over manholes. Still, the roads are passable and provide traffic relief to busy 56th and 59th streets.

IPL and AT&T are trenching and working to get utilities buried. We expect to see the first light poles go up in the next month or so once pull boxes are installed. Light poles will really change the face of the development (just like the completion of the monuments -- people will start to take note yet again.) Once spring hits and trees start to leaf up again, I'm sure residents and visitors will get a flavor for what we've done to ready the property for vertical development.

If you've passed by the Ravine area off of Post Road, you've seen the construction of a boardwalk that's taken a long time to complete. Rest assured, this boardwalk is here to stay -- it's pretty solid. We have some railings yet to install in the Ravine and final landscaping when weather permits.

As for project marketing, we've been busy. We have a sale pending for 1.61 acres for a senior housing development. The building will be 3 stories and will sit at the corner of Hawkins and Birtz, which is an awesome location for independent senior living next to the park we've created. We're working with another apartment developer for slightly over 6 acres and hope to receive a letter of intent soon. We have increased interest from other residential and commercial builders, but unfortunately no bites. I expect all of this to change once we see the first development happen.

I am currently working on the "Sunset Plan" that will be the blueprint for the Reuse Authority to finish up our work here at the Fort and eventually go away . . . or fade into the sunset. Did you know that when I'm successful with this stuff, I no longer have a job? I say that slightly tongue in cheek; however, there is truth to this statement. Once the FHRA is done selling property, overseeing vertical development and assuring architectual standards/PUD requirements are met, the only thing left is repayment of tax revenue bonds. At some point, we will have to create some type of property management or neighborhood association to look after the landscaping and other infrastructure improvements we've put into place. However, I'm sure this will be a tight partnership with the City of Lawrence.

In the meantime, we are cleaning up records by conveying parcels and assisting with infrastructure improvements to private property in an effort to achieve this goal. My aim is to have all of this detail stuff done by year end so we can truly focus on the final 56 acres and get them developed.

There are lots of changes and all of them good. Stay with us as we journey toward the sunset.

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