Development Group Still Banking on Multi-Use Project
Representatives from the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) gave a presentation to the WP City council last week on how the $30,000 allocated to the DDA for Woodland Station improvements is being spent,
More importantly, they gave an update on the progress of the land’s possible development. For several decades, this DDA controlled area has been envisioned as the future commercial anchor of Woodland Park, but that pursuit has never materialized. A number of bold development bids have come forth, including the choice area for the Woodland Aquatic Center, but they fell through for a variety of reasons.
In its heyday, prior to the DDA purchase of the land, this 10-acre-plus spot served as the city’s rodeo grounds and the home of the Saddle Club.
Three DDA board members spoke to council on plans for the land. Al Born was first to address council. Born spoke of one plan to hire a professional to market the land to developers. However, some necessary improvements to the land that would be needed. He outlined the costs involved with this type of plan and stated the revenue to offset the improvements would come from the sale of the land at market value. The plan also calls for the land to be subdivided and each of those parcels would be available for purchase.
Board member Elijah Murphy was next to speak. Murphy stated the only developer, at this time interested in the land, Mike Williams, has notified the DDA that he is interested in negotiating with the DDA and that he has secured another possible investor. Williams’ plans to develop the property as part of a multi-use development, featuring entertainment, retail and an event hub, based on previous presentations.
Murphy also mentioned the DDA is seeking grants to help offset the costs to make the necessary improvements to the properties’ infrastructure, such as drainage and access to the property. He assured council that Mike Williams is serious about developing the land. At the same time, Murphy qualified his statements about Williams’ plans saying, “We’re looking at every possibility.”
DDA Treasurer Tanner Coy spoke next. Coy made a point to tell council that the $30,000 allocated to the DDA is in a safe account and none of that money has been spent at this time. Coy also summarized the three plans the DDA is entertaining regarding the property. The number one priority the DDA is exploring is the Williams’ development.
The second option is to subdivide the property as Born explained and the third option is to make aesthetic improvements to the property and temporarily use it as a venue for activities, until such time as it is sold or developed.
With these options, the DDA has put Williams in a position to proceed with his plans or withdraw from consideration. Now, according to Coy, Williams is asking the DDA for an exclusive agreement to lock in his plan.
Coy explained the lengths the DDA has gone to accommodate Williams. He said, “We have provided an abundance of information to them, we have supported their concept plan, and we’ve paid the cost for professional land design consultants concept plans. We’ve encouraged them to advance.”
After the presentation, council members applauded the DDA’s efforts to do something with the property.