” … The mayor, City Council members, and DDA members say owning the Y keeps many of their options open.

For interest-only payments of about $34,000 quarterly, 100 single-resident, hotel-style rooms (no kitchen, shared baths) are preserved indefinitely to provide low-cost housing.

The city nets a prime piece of real estate with endless options for redevelopment as retail, office, commercial or residential space, and therefore the leverage to ensure future buyers or partners mold the new property according to what elected leaders feel is best for downtown. The DDA is footing half the bill for the quarterly balloon payments, so the city only has to pay about $17,000 quarterly, Hieftje said.

And the Y is the crown jewel among three other properties the city also wants to control, DDA members say. They include parking lots or structures at First Avenue and William Street, First Avenue and Washington Street and on Klein Street.

“One of the reason we got involved was we felt it was important for someone to take some leadership roles” in those parts of downtown, said Rob Aldrich, president of MAV development and a DDA board member.

The site at First and William is a logical location for a parking garage, he said. But the other two offer ideal sites for mixed-use developments, such as combinations of retail, housing and commercial spaces.

“Our goal is to preserve those 100 units of housing,” said DDA director Susan Pollay. “But our second goal is to plan for redevelopment of these sites that best benefits the downtown.”…

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Author: Rob