By Hank McCoy
At the June 10 city commission workshop, one of the items discussed was the long-awaited $168M Cornerstone project.
The dilapidated Financial Plaza building sitting on 7.09-acres on the southwest corner of Sample Road and University was slated for demolition last December. However, public demand for office space, as well as new zoning codes to adhere to, challenged the developer’s timeline.
Now demolition is scheduled sometime in mid-fall, according to Susie Krisman, director of Development Services for the city.
At the workshop, the project was broken down from one, to now five separate phases.
“We want to be as transparent as possible, with what’s happening here with these changes,” said Krisman. ‘When we first brought it to you, it was really one phase; now there are five phases that they’re proposing.”
Phase A comes after the demolition of the Financial Plaza, and Mill Creek Residential will be constructing a residential building, garage, and city right-of-way work.
Phase B consists of the University Drive improvements and won’t begin work until the fourth quarter of 2021.
Phase C is the hotel construction phase of the project, and developer Predesco is still in negotiation with no solidified contract at this time.
Phase D consists of office building construction, garage, and Sample Road improvements. Predesco has a signed lease for a 100,000 square foot commercial office space from a medical group that will be located at the corner of Sample Road and University Drive.
After Phase D, restaurants and retailers will be able to start moving into the space.
Phase E, the final phase of the Cornerstone Project, won’t begin until after Phase D. The commission didn’t have any announcements on what businesses will take up the office building planned for this phase; however, Predesco has been in talks with several.
When asked by Commissioner Shawn Cerra about when Phase D will open to the public, Krisman said, the best-case scenario would be 2022.
City manager Frank Babinec explained that if Predesco has a rush or a company that wants to lease the space out for Phase D, they would want to move up construction.
Vice Mayor Joy Carter expressed some concern over the fact that the residential portion of the Cornerstone Project would be completed while the rest of the project is still under construction, resulting in those residents living through the remaining construction of the project.
“Not ideal, but obviously we’re not in ideal times by any means,” said Mayor Scott Brook. “I would definitely like us to come up with some type of strategy that we can enroll and empower the community to support us with this downtown project.”
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