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Local developer halts process

BY NICK MOFFITT | OCTOBER 08, 2014 5:00 AM

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The confirmation process for accepting Court and Linn Street finalists has been delayed after city officials received letters from a developer and its lawyer that hadn’t been originally selected.

Prairie Sun Building Services LLC sent a letter to the city alongside a letter from its lawyer, Belin McCormick,, stating a request for the city to reconsider its proposal for the site that used to house St. Patrick’s Hall.

Prairie Sun was not selected as a finalist for the potential city project. The letter sent from the developer to the city included reasons it believes its proposal is worthy of being a finalist.

City Attorney Eleanor Dilkes said officials hadn’t heard anything from the developer until just before the work session meeting started on Tuesday.

“In light of the letter from their attorney, we have put things on hold,” she said.

The letter goes over the group’s opinions relating to not being selected as a finalist for the project, as well as some miscalculations they believe the city made in regards to the project.

The proposals are all for the vacant site at Court and Linn Streets left after the St. Patrick’s Hall site was destroyed by a tornado in 2006. The site is currently used as a parking lot.

The submitted finalists contained mixed-use buildings with residential and commercial opportunities.

The finalists currently selected are CA Ventures, Core Campus of Chicago or HUB at Iowa City, and Sherman Associates of Minneapolis.

The finalists were announced on Oct. 2, and developers expected confirmation of their status as a finalist at the Monday council work session.

Dilkes said she couldn’t comment on anything else in the letter because of how close to the beginning of the meeting they received the response from Prairie Sun.

Part of the letter reads, “Our team is made up of local companies whose offices are located in the Riverfront Crossings. As such, we are stakeholders in this project whether or not we are selected. We share a deep commitment to Iowa City.”

Mayor Matt Hayek said because of the letter, the city will have to take a step back and will continue discussion in “due time.”

Hayek also commented that councilors should refrain from talking to developers until the conflict is resolved.

The letter from the developers’ lawyer, Michael Hayes, states all other proposals selected as finalists don’t comply with the original stated goals by the city and shouldn’t be valid proposals.

Prairie Sun could not be reached for further comment, and Robert Carlson of Carlson Design Team PC said the letter contained their comments.

“Sun Prairie Building Services LLC requests that the City Council reject all the non-complying proposals and direct the city to negotiate a final contract for development of this site,” the letter from Hayes said.


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