Obici site gets EDA cash

Published 10:43 pm Thursday, September 10, 2015

The city’s Economic Development Authority on Wednesday approved about $275,000 in public money going toward the apartment project to be built on the site of the former Obici Hospital.

Following a closed session on the topic, the authority voted to amend the agreement of sale between the authority, which owns the property, and Waverton Associates, which plans to build a 224-apartment complex on the back part of the site, which is located at 1900 N. Main St.

The authority would provide money for the future internal roadways on the site, to be named Louise Obici Lane and Memorial Avenue, city spokesman Tim Kelley said in an emailed response to questions.

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The money would include $171,000 for street lighting, $55,600 for crosswalks, $27,800 for landscaping and $20,000 for on-street parallel parking, Kelley added.

The roadway project within the site has a total cost of more than $900,000, he said.

The money provided by the EDA will come from the authority’s own funds and not include any city funding, Kelley said.

“This cost participation will ensure additional high-quality improvements as part of the Obici Place development and assist in enticing future new-to-market retailers that have been requested by nearly 600 participants in the recent retail survey,” Kelley wrote in an email.

The amended agreement also included a slight adjustment on the exact acreage following the survey of the site, Economic Development Director Kevin Hughes said after Wednesday’s meeting.

Also at Wednesday’s meeting, the authority named two of its members, Wesley King and Stacy Lewis, to a committee to help choose the contractor that will make improvements on North Main Street necessitated by the new development.

In addition, the authority approved the termination of an easement lease by Sprint that runs through a portion of the site.

The use of the site has been a topic of discussion for much of the year. A vocal contingent of citizens advocated for a park or green space on the site, rather than apartments and the retail component planned for the front half of the site. A City Council vote, however, gave the nod to the EDA’s plan.

More than 600 people responded to an online survey asking their opinions on the types of retail uses they wanted to see on the site.