Goshen Redevelopment approves contract with developer Matthews

Second developer's contract likely coming in November.

Posted on Oct. 8, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on Oct. 8, 2013 at 7:24 p.m.

GOSHEN - It’s one down and one to go for the Goshen Redevelopment Commission’s agreements with developers of a vacant area along the River Race.

At the Tuesday, Oct. 8 meeting, commissioners approved the agreement for the sale, purchase and development of the northern portion of the land with Matthews LLC.

Matthews will be building town homes on the north end, while the plan is for another developer to construct a co-housing community on the southern portion.

The agreement received a 4-1 vote that affirmed the terms of the Matthews deal, which includes a $100 “purchase price” for the land, a $500,000 lein that the Commission will retain on the property and the various obligations the two parties must take care of.

One requirement Matthews will have to abide by is the phased build of the development.

The exterior and framework of the first buildings must be complete by Sept. 30, 2014, after which time the final groups of buildings will be developed based on demand.

Matthews will have until Dec. 31, 2020, to develop their portion of the real estate. After that time, any undeveloped property would revert back to the Redevelopment Commission.

Some concern was raised about several parts of the agreement. Commissioner Jeremy Stutsman was first concerned with seemingly limitless height Matthews could build two of their buildings to.

Buildings constructed to the north of the alley will not necessarily be limited in how high they may go.

Helping allay some of the concerns about height, Becky Hershberger, Brownfields Coordinator, explained to the Commission that all plans will still have to be approved by the Redevelopment Commission, Plan Commission and various other bodies that will allow for public input, giving neighbors of the the development a chance to speak.

“I have no trouble approving this contract,” Vince Turner said, “as long as there are some opportunities for people in the community to voice their objections.”

Stutsman was also concerned that there were no estimates listed as to how much the Commission’s obligations were going to cost.

Hershberger explained that costs were originally estimated to run around $1.3 million but estimated that they could likely come in less because of a few changes during the negotiations, to which Commissioner Steve Oyer added that Commission was going to have the same responsibilities to any other developer no matter the cost.

“We want a good project, we’re going to have to pay for it,” added Commission President Tom Stump.

One other topic argued, however, was that Richard Miller, who led the co-housing group, was not in attendance and had not seen the agreement before the Commission Tuesday.

In the end, though, both Stump and Turner felt that a vote was necessary and needed despite the absence of representatives from the co-housing group.

“We’ve got two good projects,” Stump said. “(Matthews) is ready to go.”

“I don’t think it’s fair to delay or punish, if you will, Mr. Matthews because the other side has not been as aggressive,” Turner said.

A roll call vote affirmed the agreement, with only Stutsman voting in opposition for his stated reason of a lack of financial details.

The agreement with the co-housing group will likely come before the Commission at the November meeting.

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