The City Council approved a redevelopment agreement and $1.3 million in tax-increment financing for the Lincoln Sports Facility to be built on West O Street, with one string attached.
The redevelopment agreement usually signals the end of the special-approval process. But in this case, the developer will have to provide additional details about the building's exterior design to the city's Urban Design Committee and get the mayor’s approval before moving ahead with construction.
The developer, who would like to have the sports facility available to youth teams by late fall or early winter, didn’t want to delay City Council approval for the design issue, David Landis, director of the Department of Urban Development, told the council.
The Urban Design Committee wanted some increased attention to some elements of the façade design because many people from outside of Lincoln will be visiting, said Stacey Hageman, with the Planning Department.
The developer will bring plans back to the committee in early May, with final approval by Mayor Chris Beutler.
The developer expects to spend about $10.4 million on the project, which includes a 78,500-square-foot facility with eight basketball courts that could double as 12 volleyball courts, as well as a 5,000-square-foot training center. A second phase could include an estimated 20,000-square-foot commercial building.
The sports facility would be built at Southwest 14th Place and West O Street, just south of the Red Fox Steak House and Lounge.
TIF funding would be used for site acquisition, site development and facade improvements, according to the redevelopment agreement.
Several council members tried to require the developer to pay for all or at least some of the cost of any street improvements that might be needed to handle O Street traffic at the site.
Traditionally, developers pay for a traffic study and for the street improvements. But the city planning staff failed to require the traffic study early in the process.
Under the redevelopment agreement, the developer agreed to pay for the traffic study, but the city agreed to pick up the costs of any needed street improvements because of the city error. Because the city raised the issue late in the process, the city decided to bear the burden of the cost, Landis told the council at a public hearing last week.
Cost estimates for potential street improvements ranged from $60,000 to $300,000.
Several council members failed in an attempt to require the developer to pay the improvement costs.
“This should not be considered a precedent,” Councilman Jon Camp said about the failure to require the developer to pay the street improvement costs.
And Councilwoman Leirion Gaylor Baird warned that, though the council did not change the redevelopment agreement, the council does have the authority to make changes.
“No deal is done until it comes to this body,” she said.