Town Center scaling back, has new developer

The Town Center project, originally proposed 18 months ago as a massive residential-retail plan for property around City Hall, has a new developer and scaled-back plans.

The Redevelopment Agency last week designated DeBartolo Development as the conditional redeveloper for several properties behind City Hall.

The Town Center concept still exists as possibility, said RRA Attorney Frank Regan, but discussion is focused on much smaller properties for now. The concept has shrunk but the potential exists that it could expand, he said, adding that the amount of retail originally proposed by Diversified Communities was not feasible according to DeBartolo.

The project has retail but still several hundred residential units, said Peter Pelissier, redevelopment director and city administrator. The retail component will come in two phases, with the first phase fronting Main Street, he said, and the vast majority of retail in the second phase after residential units are constructed from about the SDI Technologies building to the library.

In February 2007, Diversified Communities presented a plan to City Council for 175,000 square feet of retail, a 125-room hotel, 375 units of housing, and parking decks totaling 1,300 spaces. DeBartolo and Diversified had been working on the project since last fall, before parting ways this spring.

The Redevelopment Agency authorized Diversified Communities to purchase property it owns near the library last summer for $725,000. DeBartolo now will have to negotiate to buy that property and the Center Circle.