Published: Oct 25, 2012 03:30 PM
Modified: Oct 25, 2012 03:31 PM
City Hall is close to a deal to keep Ninth Street’s parking lot from being turned into a bank and to spruce up West Durham’s destination point as well.
The deal will cost taxpayers about $1.18 million, but that should be more than offset by new tax revenues from the grocery store, apartments and other new enterprises being built in the area, according to Economic Development Director Kevin Dick.
Under the arrangement, the city will lease the 44-space surface lot on the west side of Ninth Street from Chartwell Property Group — which is redeveloping the former George’s Garage-Kerr Drug location and owns the adjoining land where Harris Teeter is building a supermarket.
Chartwell has proposed developing the parking lot into a drive-through bank, an alarming prospect for many Ninth Street interests already pinched by a lack of parking.
After several months’ conversation with Ninth Street merchants and city staffers, Dick said, Chartwell is amenable to the lease. Chartwell would also front the cost of improving the streetscape’s aesthetics with decorative streetlights, trash cans, sidewalk pavement and other touches similar to those installed downtown.
Jack Dunn, Chartwell’s managing partner, was on hand when Dick presented the deal points to City Council members last week.
The city would also offer matching grants for Ninth Street property owners to improve the looks of their buildings.
“Dollar for dollar,” Dick said. Councilman
Steve Schewel was pleased. “The merchants need to take some responsibility for the way Ninth Street looks,” he said.New tax revenue
Tax revenues from new businesses on Chartwell’s property, plus the 303-unit Circle 9 apartments, should cover the city’s cost to reimburse Chartwell for construction and pay its parking lease, and leave the city with a net gain of $4.6 million over the lease’s 20-year span, according to city estimates.
Closing the deal won’t come for a while, but City Manager Tom Bonfield said that, before telling staff to “put the fine points” on the deal, he wanted a “nod” from the City Council.
Councilman Mike Woodard nodded immediately.