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Town Square moving to Site B; City approves new Dickinson Hills agreement

A proposed town square project could be moving to its secondary location. The city received appraisals on neighboring buildings at the Villard and Sims street location that would need to be purchased to expand the site for construction, City Admi...

After two months and a two week extension, Five Diamond Developers and Raddon Development have failed to turn in four tenant leases for a proposed new shopping center. The leases were to be submitted in exchange for the city agreeing to expand Fairway Street, a $1.3 million project. (Brandon L. Summers / The Dickinson Press)
City Commissioners Tuesday approved a new development agreement for Dickinson Hills Shopping Center. The city will commit $1.37 million for an expansion of Fairway Street at Interstate 94, and the developer will begin work on a building to bring four retailers to Dickinson by Jan. 2020. (Brandon L. Summers / The Dickinson Press)

A proposed town square project could be moving to its secondary location.

The city received appraisals on neighboring buildings at the Villard and Sims street location that would need to be purchased to expand the site for construction, City Administrator Joe Gaa explained to city commissioners Tuesday at their regular meeting.

The building values came back at roughly $1 million.

"By the time we prepare the sites, it likely might take more to purchase them than that," Gaa said. "We estimate it is probably around $1.3 to $1.5 million added to the project cost."

The Downtown Dickinson Association and Downtown Taskforce, among other groups, were presented with three options.

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One: purchase the buildings and move forward with the Site A designs.

"That would likely result in a great deal of additional private funding being needed," Gaa said.

Two: keep Site A, but don't purchase buildings and downsize the designs, keeping it on property the city owns.

The groups favored option three, moving to Site B, city owned property on Third Avenue West, across from American Bank Center, which is larger than Site A.

"Overwhelmingly, everyone liked the idea of going to Site B," Gaa said. "Making Site A small was not well-taken by anybody."

Site A could still be used to enhance the district, Gaa explained.

"It was very positive, as far as, let's move forward, but let's not just look at the town square," he said. "Let's really grow our downtown."

Gaa requested approving $9,000 for a design phase to see if the plans from Site A could be fit onto Site B, and other site requirements.

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Commissioner Sarah Trustem elaborated on the qualities of Site B, including being near Dickinson Public Library, which is planning a major expansion.

"There were some concerns in regard to security with proximity to Villard," she said. "There's been a lot of working parts. I don't know if Site B is a for-sure thing right now. We're just trying to do our due diligence to see both properties."

In other business:

City Commissioners approved an amended development agreement for the Dickinson Hills Shopping Plaza.

The original agreement was submitted to the city in January 2014.

"It's not a complete rewrite of the original development agreement, because that wasn't necessary," City Attorney Jan Murtha said. "What it does do is amend revisions in the original agreement that relate to this phase."

Five Diamond Developers submitted four signed leases to the city for anchor retailers: TJ Maxx, Shoe Dept. Encore, Dollar Tree and Hobby Lobby.

"This is good news," Gaa said. "It wasn't easy getting here, over a number of years."

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The city is committing $1.37 million for an expansion of Fairway Street at Interstate-94 for the development.

The shopping plaza will be on the north side of Fairway.

Per the leases, the stores have to be opened by Jan. 2, 2020.

"They'll be working on those stores and we'll be working on the road at the same time, and that will occur as quick as we can, once spring hits," Gaa said.

The modified agreement specifies that the city will provide permanent traffic improvements to the intersection.

The developer will be responsible for installing box culverts for Fairway and a private access road, and maintaining a storm water management system.

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