The City of Aiken released today a list of requirements that developers must meet for consideration in the 2017 Downtown Revitalization Project.
Of major importance is that developers must submit in detail a plan to work with existing tenants who lease space from the Andersons now that the city has purchased an option on the Newberry Street property.
City Manager John Klimm said Friday that the City will not waiver on its mandate attempting to accommodate existing tenants.
Submitting developers must name at minimum the architectural firm, civil, structural and mechanical engineers, electrical and plumbing engineers, and firms that will provide services to tenants affected by the project. All proposals must meet the requirements of current City ordinances.
In addition, developers must include in the RFP their track record with tenants who might have been displaced during past projects. Proposals that do not outline accommodation plans for current businesses will be rejected and marked as non-compliant.
“The City values existing businesses,” Klimm said after the much-anticipated document was released. “Therefore, a plan to accommodate tenants impacted by the project is a component of the RFP.”
The City recently was notified that the downtown property under consideration would be placed on the market. Shortly thereafter, the City received property options that allow it the right to transfer them to a development team. The City has until April to find a buyer/developer. Only one will be chosen.
The deadline for submissions is 3 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 3. Before that, the City will host a Pre-Proposal Conference on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. Interested parties will meet at 10 a.m. at 214 Park Ave. SW to tour the Municipal Building.
Once proposals are submitted, an open process will begin that guarantees public participation. Hearing times will be communicated on Channel 4, the City’s website and through social media.
Other specifics outlined in the RFP document are the City’s wishes to:
- Sell to a development team that will revitalize City-own property at 214 Park Ave. Envisioned are plans that include first-floor retail and upper-level housing.
- Rehabilitate and expand the Municipal Building on Park Avenue. The City’s vision is a consolidated city hall. Municipal operations would be located in the current Municipal Building, as well as a new annex on property purchased for expansion. Private-sector retail shops could appear on the first floor, with city operations on the second and third floors. Residents approved this plan by referendum in 2010.
- Bring to Richland Avenue and Newberry Streets more restaurants, specialty shops and retail space. The City’s vision also includes a municipal parking garage and housing if space allows.
“Be assured, we will work with a development team that presents architectural designs in keeping with our downtown and that are consistent with our city’s charm and uniqueness as outlined in our planning guidelines,” Klimm said.