WORTHINGTON — An agreement between the Worthington Economic Development Authority (EDA) and Clark Unlimited Properties LLC for the rehabilitation of the Hotel Thompson building was unanimously approved during Monday night’s Worthington City Council meeting.

The council was required to consider the agreement because of the tax increment financing (TIF) district associated with the project. The EDA subsequently approved the agreement during a special meeting Tuesday afternoon.

Monday night’s action followed approval of a proposed set of terms for the agreement during the city council meeting of Sept. 28. As part of the terms, the city will require approval of construction plans, execution of the TIF agreement, and sufficient need and means for Clark Unlimited Properties to execute the project successfully.

Other details outlined as part of the agreement include: anticipated total project costs of approximately $2.95 million; completion of repairs by Aug. 1, 2021; the city’s providing of up to $937,727 ($479,223 present value) or 26 years of TIF for the project, whichever comes first; and the city’s providing of a $101,000 grant and its purchase of roofing materials from the developer.

Payments for the “pay-as-you-go” TIF district — in which the developer pays for upfront development costs and is reimbursed for eligible costs as the increment becomes available — will be made over the life of the 25-year district. A TIF note will be issued upon completion of the minimum improvements and demonstration of the total qualified costs, the agreement states.

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The anticipated assessment cost after the repairs is projected at $2.6 million.

Jason Brisson, the city’s assistant city administrator and director of economic development, told council members Monday that renovations at the historic building are coming along, with work on the third floor nearly completed. Rehabilitation efforts are then expected to proceed on the second floor, he said.

“If you get a chance to get in there, check it out,” Brisson said. “It’s super cool.”

The renovated Thompson building will be home to studio apartments as well as one- and two-bedroom apartments, as well as retain commercial space. Honorary City Council member Cheniqua Johnson inquired Monday about the affordability of the apartments at the property, and if there was risk to the city with the project. Councilman Chad Cummings explained that the Thompson is being renovated by private ownership using TIF, and that ownership had a clear interest in a high-quality and positive result.

“Your concerns are valid,” Councilman Alan Oberloh said a short time later. “The owner is sticking a lot of money in it. They will make sure it stays nice, because they will need to pay back the money (development costs) that is owed.”

“This was a case of, ‘what are all the tools that we can throw at this building and save it and keep it alive?’” Brisson added.

In other business Monday, the council:

  • Approved a proposed agreement with Bolton & Menk to analyze and evaluate a portion of EDA-owned land along U.S. 59 south of 27th Street on which Cemstone wishes to construct a ready-mix concrete facility on the north portion and a small retail facility on the south portion of the parcel.

It’s expected that traffic from the ready-mix facility would utilize 27th Street, while the retail customers would utilize an extension of the current Bioscience Drive. Members of the Worthington Planning Commission discussed the potential for such a project in that area during a Nov. 4 special meeting.

The agreement with Bolton & Menk is structured as an hourly not-to-exceed of $5,500, with the firm’s analysis to be provided no later than Dec. 11.

  • Unanimously supported a plan to consider development of a .33-acre city-owned site south of Okabena Street and west of Second Avenue that would ultimately create new market rate rental housing units in the city.

  • Received a report from Bolton & Menk and ordered a hearing for a planned North Crailsheim Road water extension project. The hearing will take place during the Dec. 14 city council meeting.

  • Approved a change order for Clair Van Grouw Construction, the city’s contractor on its local option sales tax Park projects, that includes soil corrections at the Centennial Park shelter house, Buss Field restroom, and Slater Park restroom and shelter, as well as installation of an electric heater (instead of a natural gas heater) in the Slater Park family restroom. Total costs of this change order are $57,136.81.

  • Approved requests from six parties to place benches in honor and memory of loved ones in city parks and along the bike trails.

  • Approved the second reading of city code text amendments addressing inoperable vehicles and changes to the city flood plain, respectively, and the third reading of city code text pertaining to the imposing of regulations on mobile food units.

Also Monday, Oberloh took time toward the end of the meeting to praise the work of a subcommittee created to work toward distributing small business assistant funding through the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act.

“In a lot of years of collaborating, it was a treat to serve on that committee,” said Oberloh, whose remarks were corroborated by City Administrator Steve Robinson. “This was uncharted territory we were in, and I want to say it was a joy.”

Additionally, Honorary City Council member Johnson issued a public apology for remarks she made regarding a food box distribution event in the community, Johnson had taken issue with boxes of food containing letters from U.S. President Donald Trump, arguing that the letters shouldn’t have been included. Her apology was quickly accepted by Cummings, who assisted in the event’s coordination.