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Thursday August 21, 2014
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Connecting William Street

 

continued

Novi-based HDC, LLC promised to do both--but never delivered. In its lawsuit, HDC claims to have invested $2 million in architectural and engineering fees, feasibility studies, and other expenditures, in addition to jumping through all of the bureaucratic hoops necessary to secure more than $18.5 million in MSHDA tax credits and another $7.5 million in state brownfield redevelopment tax credits. But as the HDC's plans changed, and its requests for additional funding mounted, the city terminated its option to buy the site in 2007.

Earlier RFPs for the former city maintenance garage on Washington and for the "Kline's lot" at William and Ashley also went nowhere. Given that history, developers may be skeptical of the city's latest scheme to redevelop the Fifth Avenue sites and three others nearby. But that's where the DDA thinks it can do better.

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"The DDA can do this a little differently," says Amber Miller, the authority's planning and research specialist. "What we were hearing from developers from previous RFP processes was that there were vague RFPs. A lot of city planning has gotten us to the point where we have great, broad goals for our downtown, but there are a lot of uses that fit within those broader goals." That led to developers investing a lot of time and resources into proposals without knowing for sure what city council would be looking for when it evaluated them. The plans would then become ensnared in politics.

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