October 17, 2020

Mallory Herrmann
Staff Reporter

The city is laying the groundwork for working with developers on the downtown market plaza project.

David Bushek, Chief Council of Economic Development & Planning, gave an update to the city council this week about the city’s RFQ (request for qualifications) process to identify master development and professional management firms for the project’s public/private partnership.

Bushek said they are seeking a relationship that will allow the city to maintain primary control of the mixed-use redevelopment without putting the responsibility of day-to-day management on the council.

He envisions a redevelopment corporation that would be established to handle the project management and to interact with the plaza’s other stakeholders. An additional advisory committee would be created to get input from downtown residents, business owners and other parties on how the public spaces should be.

The conceptual plan for the downtown market plaza, near Southeast Green and Third Streets, includes a boutique hotel, apartment complex, retail and restaurant uses, an outdoor performance space and a permanent farmers market.

The city will continue to own the land, establishing long-term lease agreements with private users for individual spaces.

Outlining the management agreement and entering into an agreement with a master developer and professional management firm are the first of many steps the city will take to make the conceptual plan a reality. City staff are continuing to meet with respondents to the RFQ, which has an Oct. 30 deadline for submissions.

“It’s getting exciting!” Mayor Bill Baird said at the conclusion of the Oct. 13 presentation.