Council grants developers time for project

yan Loew

City Council has agreed to give developers more time to work on the Kent Downtown Village project – but with one stipulation.

Right Dimensions LLC, a California-based developing company with ties to the Kent area, was granted a six-month extension on its memorandum of understanding with the city.

The city’s memorandum of understanding with Right Dimensions was scheduled to expire Dec. 16. The memorandum allows the city to negotiate with the company.

However, the developer will be required to provide within 45 days progress information that city administrators have requested.

Community Development Director Charley Bowman recommended a 30-day extension for developers to provide city council with a more detailed schedule for the next phases of the project. After that 30 days, the six-month extension on the memorandum should have been considered, Bowman said.

Renewal of the memorandum was needed to proceed with the developers’ plans for residential/commercial complex on the block of downtown framed by South Water, Depeyster, Erie and College streets. The project will cost more than $30 million, according to Economic Development Coordinator Michael Weddle.

But 30 days would put development too far behind schedule, said Andrew Lombardo, senior project manager for Right Dimensions. A 30-day period would hinder the developer’s ability to attract investors, he said.

City manager Dave Ruller said he was surprised Right Dimensions recommended council skip the 30-day extension. Ruller said city administrators and the developer had an agreement on the grace period.

City administrators need to see a timeline containing information including property acquisition and demolition sequencing, Ruller said.

“We were reassured all along that (information) is coming,” he said. “And I’m sure it’s coming, but it’s not here tonight.

“We want to see a tighter timeline. As we move from concepts to a little more refined concepts, we need to look at logistics.”

Within the six-month period Right Dimensions requested, the developer has said it anticipates concluding the purchase of all properties and the pre-lease of 40 to 50 percent of retail space. It will also have submitted all development plans to the city.

“If we’re going to continue to be a partner in this, then we need a greater level of insurance of the next steps,” Ruller said. “We need that comfort level.”

Plans for the development project will include as many as 49 residential units and 83,000 square feet of retail space, Weddle said. The design also features approximately one acre of land for a community courtyard, and a parking structure is being discussed.

Contact public affairs reporter Ryan Loew at [email protected].