Jul 30, 2014

Council Marches Forward with Parking Garage Plan

Developers interested in a prospective retail property will need to have an appraiser put their stamp of approval on a bid.

Council Marches Forward with Parking Garage Plan

Seemingly on course to another 3-2 vote, the Ridgewood Village Council on Wednesday night found a way to compromise, advancing a unique proposal that could see the construction of a large retail facility and multiple parking garages in the downtown.

The council majority last week said they simply wanted to determine what a smack dab in the middle of East Ridgewood could retrieve on a land lease and in property taxes. A request for proposals (RFP) would be drafted with interested developers offering how much they'd pay to construct the bricks and mortar and lease out the space to businesses.

The revenue from the property would theoretically fund the construction of a parking garage at the Hudson lot and potentially at the Walnut Street lot as well.

But according to Councilwoman Bernadette Walsh, doing so was putting the cart before the horse. Walsh said a state-certified general real estate appraiser would be needed to determine the value and income potential of the property, which is currently a parking lot set between Gilsenan's and The Gap.

If you're paying off an $8 million bond, Walsh, an appraiser, argued, the certified appraiser is a must.

Ultimately, both sides agreed an assessor would be needed. The question was at what point in the process.

"Why don't we construct the RFP so that whoever responds has to have their analysis backed up by a certified real estate appraiser?" Councilman Tom Riche asked. "If I'm going to respond, I have to hire a real estate appraiser to stamp it."

The council agreed move forward under those conditions, spending up to $15,000 to draft an RFP.

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