R.H. Ledbetter Properties will have through Dec. 31, 2014, to complete its due diligence and get permits to build a 300,000-square-foot shopping center on Riverside Parkway.
The development, which is being watched closely by local environmentalists with the Coosa River Basin Initiative, would be across from Ridge Ferry Park on 83 acres stretching to Turner McCall Boulevard.
David Doss’s Samson Developers will get through Jan. 2, 2013, to close its deal for a major full-service hotel on West Third Street across from Barron Stadium. City Manager John Bennett said there are now two hotel chains interested in Doss’ project.
“They think they’ll know something in about 30 days, but they want to get past the first of the year,” Commissioner
Kim Canada said. “Once they decide on a hotel, things will start moving pretty fast.”
The project would redevelop 2.2 acres on the Oostanaula River that formerly housed the Rome-Floyd Parks and Recreation Authority headquarters.
A second phase on 2.2 adjacent acres would include owner-occupied condominiums and retail shops.
The Riverside Parkway development, on a former city landfill, has been under study since April 2007 and tempers flared during the board’s caucus session.
Joe Cook, CRBI executive director and Riverkeeper, said his organization is holding firm to protecting Burwell Creek and the wetlands on the site. When Cook warned that legal action would be taken if necessary, Canada launched into an angry tirade and E. Wright Ledbetter likened the threat to extortion.
“You are a citizen and you represent a worthy organization, but you’re trying to extort a seat at the table,” Ledbetter said.
Cook said he just wanted to point out that “if we’re ignored, we’re left with little recourse.”
Mayor Evie McNiece reminded Cook and Ledbetter that they’ve been able to find common ground in the past, and suggested they repair that relationship. The two went into a huddle after the caucus to further discuss the issues.
Commissioner Sue Lee was the lone “no” vote to extending the Ledbetter option. She said she wants the area preserved as greenspace in the heart of the city.
“There are other places to build a mall,” she said. “Do you think New York City would sell a part of Central Park for development?”
Ledbetter Properties has already spent $1.2 million on design, engineering, legal fees and permitting.
A permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was suspended last year after CRBI raised objections to its effect on the creek. The company has since withdrawn its application and is revising its site plan.