City seeks to sell more downtown real estate

May 16–The city of Owensboro has issued a request for the proposed sale and development of three pieces of downtown property it owns.

A small house and adjacent parking lot at Veterans Boulevard and Daviess Street (120 and 124 E. Veterans Blvd.) and the public green space at 210 W. Veterans Blvd. were all listed in bid documents published Monday.

The public green space property has already gone to bid earlier this year after the city was approached by a developer seeking to construct a riverfront restaurant there. A single bid, from Riverfront JAM LLC, a Matt Hayden and Jack Wells subsidiary, fell far short of a premium reserve the city had placed on the property prior to soliciting bidders.

Although individual property bids will be accepted, according to documents, Assistant City Manager Nate Pagan said it is the city’s intent to accept a single bid for all three properties. It’s unclear whether Riverfront JAM will bid again; an associate said Tuesday that the company will likely seek more information from the city before making a decision.

Pagan confirmed that the RFP this week is part of a broader, publicized effort on behalf of the city commission and Mayor Tom Watson to liquidate unused real estate holdings in order to generate additional property tax and even perhaps income tax revenues.

“The general idea would be that it’s prime commercial real estate,” Pagan said. “It’s being underutilized, and it would make a great site for another signature project downtown.”

Developers have reached out to the city about using all three pieces of property, although the subject of those conversations are private and not subject to open meetings or open records laws.

Former Mayor Ron Payne, during his State of the City address in 2016, announced a partnership with 14 WFIE television studios for the use of the two lots at 120 and 124 E. Veterans Blvd. The local NBC News affiliate reportedly uses the space for remote broadcasting. The city’s lease agreement with WFIE doesn’t expire until 2021, although it would transfer to the new property owners in the event of a sale.

The small home has housed the city’s Community Development Department, contractors overseeing the city’s downtown development projects and, more recently, a small Owensboro Police Department outpost. The parking lot, Pagan said, is still used as a staging area for the city during large downtown events.

The two West Veterans Boulevard properties were last valued by the Daviess County Property Valuation Administrator’s office at a combined $433,800, while the East Veterans Boulevard green space was valued at $185,700. Retail and PVA values can vary greatly according to anticipated or ongoing development, future use and other factors.

City commissioners voted 4-1 to surplus the green space property late last year in advance of the rejected bid in February. No action has been taken on the other properties, but Pagan said the commission would consider surplussing it if any bids are accepted.

Bids on any one or all three of the properties will be revealed during a public hearing on June 14 at City Hall.

This article provided by NewsEdge.