An advisory committee voted to reject all proposals for the Granada block, pictured above at dawn Wednesday, and sell all three buildings.
Photo by Mark Gibson.
The Columbia Gateway Urban Renewal Agency Advisory Committee voted 7-2 Tuesday to reject all proposals received for the Granada Block properties and put all three structures — the theater, Recreation building and Blue building — back on the market with conditions on redevelopment.
The decision is only a recommendation to the Urban Renewal Agency Board – made up of The Dalles City Council ─ which has the final say.
At its Feb. 16 meeting, the advisory committee had recommended the board contact Charles Gomez and Debra Liddell and have them submit a new proposal on just the theater. However, City Attorney Gene Parker later determined that would violate the law unless all three proposals were able to submit on just the theater.
A review group then met Feb. 22 and made the recommendation to the advisory committee to reject all proposals.
John Nelson, who cast one of the dissenting votes along with Atha Lincoln, asked if the advisory committee could accept the proposal by Granada Block Hotel Development, LLC, which includes a $25 million Hilton/hotel conference center that incorporates the theater.
While City Project Manager Daniel Hunter said that was still an option, Gary Grossman, chair of the advisory committee, said he “would have some concerns moving on the entire Granada block proposal submitted by what was Rapoza, which is now whatever it is, in that the letter that is accompanying the information we have tends to have some very strong language of expectations on a number of things that need to be addressed before we were to move ahead with negotiations.”
Grossman was referring to a letter from GBHD President Michael Leash to Hunter and Gary Rains, city development director. Grossman brought up the parking garage, as Leash’s letter stated the hotel would need at least 117 parking spots for dedicated guests and the urban renewal agency would be asked to construct a parking structure.
If the agency board approves the advisory committee’s recommendation, GBHD, Gomez and Liddell, and local archeologist Eric Gleason would all still have a chance to purchase any of the three properties. But urban renewal would also open up the market to other proposals.
Gomez and Liddell had requested that the Granada, along with the Recreation and Blue buildings, be sold to them for $1 but Hunter said that was never a viable option.
Urban renewal would like to get something close to the $365,406 it purchased the theater for in 2010. The Recreation building cost $475,316 and the Blue building was purchased for $380,000. Urban renewal has spent another $101,298 on roof repairs to both the theater and recreation building as well as utility cost. The city spent $269,287 on archeological and environmental studies.
“My recommendation to staff has been were we to proceed with something like this that we would try to recoup what urban renewal has in each one of those properties, that way we get back the money we intended to get back from the property and proceed with other projects,” Grossman said.
Hunter said Gomez and Liddell are still interested in purchasing the theater.