RFPs due March 16 for redevelopment of Crestwood mall

Duchild asks for roll-call vote on RFP for shopping center

By Mike Anthony

Proposals for the redevelopment of the former Crestwood Plaza are due March 16.

The Crestwood Board of Aldermen voted 6-2 last week to issue a request for proposals, or RFP, for the redevelopment of the roughly 47-acre mall property at Watson and Sappington roads. Ward 3 Alderman Paul Duchild and board President Mike Tsichlis of Ward 4 were opposed. The city issued the RFP the next day — Feb. 11.

RFPs typically are discussed by aldermen and then issued by City Administrator Mark Sime. However, Duchild requested a roll-call vote on the RFP for the redevelopment of the mall, voicing concerns with ome aspects of the RFP for the mall property, which is owned by Chicago developer UrbanStreet Group.

One of Duchild’s concerns was the inclusion, at the option of the proposer, of two outparcels — Firestone Complete Auto Care, 9415 Watson Road, and City Music, 9299 Watson Road — as part of the proposed redevelopment area.

“It should be noted that if demolition of the parking garage surrounding the former Dillard’s building is proposed, access to these properties may be limited and other factors relating to how they interface with the garage structure will need to be addressed,” the RFP states.

Duchild asked if the owners of the outparcels had been contacted by the city.

Sime said, “Not by the city.”

Duchild said that was a problem for him.

“We’re including these areas in the re-quest for proposed redevelopment and these property owners don’t — they don’t even know this is happening tonight. So I think that’s significant,” he said.

The RFP also states, “… The city is currently in the process of initiating implementation of a TIF (tax-increment financing) designation for the redevelopment area with a goal of having it in place by the end of August 2015.”

Duchild said, “… I know this is a request for proposal and we don’t have to vote on it, but I would like to request a roll-call vote on this proposal … This is significant. I’m not in favor of the TIF designation and I would like to get that on record …”

The Ward 3 alderman also asked Sime to elaborate on another aspect of the RFP, which states one of the objectives for the redevelopment area is “to provide an opportunity to create a central public space — that might include the city’s government center — that can be a focal point in the city’s center on its most prominent thoroughfare.”

“I didn’t realize we needed a new government center …,” Duchild said, later adding, “… This board has not determined that we need a new government center, and I think we need to talk about that and discuss and ultimately vote on that …”

Sime said he wanted to address Duchild’s first question about the outparcels.

“… On the outlying lots, the language is such that so that it gives the developer the latitude to contact the owners of those outlying lots in case his plan wants to go further than the 47 acres that constitutes the Crestwood Plaza,” he said. “It will be up to him to contact those property owners, not the city, and that will be a deal that he will make with those property owners … It’s not saying that those outlying lots will be used. It’s just giving the developer some latitude to consider those and then talk to property owners on his own.

“As far as a new city center, we are not asking for a new city center at this time. That is just another option, throwing out so that as the developer develops his proposal and submits a proposal, then he’ll come back to the city with his proposal and we will work with the developer on his plan. It will be at that time that the Board of Aldermen will have the option to vote up or down any such move. We’re not saying that we’re moving at this time. It’s just — it’s in there in case it’s going to be developed because the city center could be a green space within the area that becomes a city park …”

Duchild said, “Sure, and I understand that. I just think including specific language about a city government center is way too strong. I don’t have a problem with the central public space …”

Ward 1 Alderman Darryl Wallach said he supported including the two outparcels.

“… (With) regards to the redevelopment area, I think that should be inclusive of the entire area. That should be inclusive of those two parcels, which you’re talking about, which is Firestone and City Music,” he said. “It makes sense to include it. So I’m comfortable with that language …”

Wallach said he was “surprised” by the inclusion of the government center language in the RFP and asked Sime if he had help in formulating the RFP.

Sime replied that he was assisted by Peck-ham Guyton Albers & Viets, or PGAV, which is serving as the city’s planning services consultant for the mall project. The firm’s fee is not to exceed $73,000.

Wallach said, “… To me, it keeps an open-mind perspective of what opportunities there might be for the city, and I’m comfortable with that language in it.”

In other business, Mayor Gregg Roby broke a 4-4 board tie on the first reading of an ordinance hiring PGAV to develop Crestwood’s first-ever comprehensive plan.

For the comprehensive plan, PGAV is proposing a fixed fee of $89,500, plus not-to-exceed reimbursable expenses of $3,500. Sime noted that PGAV’s proposal included additional services that would require future board approval.

In total, PGAV’s proposed planning services could cost up to $240,000.

Future services, including a Watson Road Streetscape Plan and a Parks and Recreation Plan, could total $71,000, plus up to $3,000 in reimbursable expenses.

Wallach said he believed using two firms — one for the mall redevelopment project and a second for the comprehensive plan — would benefit the city. He was particularly impressed with a proposal submitted by Houseal Lavigne Associates of Chicago, which is developing Sunset Hills’ new comprehensive plan.

Houseal Lavigne’s price for the comprehensive plan and the mall redevelopment project totals $153,000. If Houseal Lavigne had been selected for both projects, the firm would have reduced its price by $18,000. For the comprehensive plan, Houseal Lavigne proposed a cost of $89,500, including $10,000 for information related to the mall, but excluding such direct project-related expenses as printing, copies, graphic reproduction, presentation materials, mileage and technology fees.

Aldermen voting in favor of the first reading of the ordinance to hire PGAV were Tim Trueblood and Mary Stadter, both of Ward 2, Bill Boston of Ward 3 and Mike Vincent of Ward 4. Opposed were Wallach, Richard Breeding of Ward 1, Duchild and board President Mike Tsichlis of Ward 4.

The second reading of the measure will be considered Tuesday, Feb. 24.