The Request for Proposals for developing two commercial parcels along Lula Lake Road adjacent to the new Town Center, will be published sometime next week, said Town Attorney Bill Pickering at a special called meeting on Monday night. Since the last meeting of the Lookout Mountain, Ga. town council on Jan. 9, Mayor David Bennett, Councilman Arch Willingham and Town Attorney Pickering reviewed, refined and finalized the RFP before issuing it. The RFP is not just an invitation for bids to purchase the property, but is also a request for the development of the land, officials said.
Town officials want to make sure that development of the property is done in a way that is consistent with the city’s vision for the Town Center.
Evaluations of the proposals will include development plans and architectural and design concepts along with the monetary considerations offered by the developer. All plans must be consistent with the recently passed Town Center zoning ordinance and design guidelines for the area.
The developer’s qualifications, experience, financial strength, professional reputation and ability to successful complete and operate the development will also be considered. The city must be satisfied not only that the developer has the financial ability to buy or lease the property, and that there is a high probability the development will succeed and be an asset to the town. There will be a timeline established for completion of the projects and if that is not met, the town will have the right to buy back the property.
In the hopes of creating interest in the project, the town will be offering the parcels as “pad ready,” with connections available for electricity, natural gas, water and sewer. To give prospective developers flexibility, the town will consider retaining ownership of the land and leasing it to the developer.
A recommendation has been made to have the land surveyed and the two plats recorded at the county.
No offering price has been identified by the town. Instead, developers will be asked to state what they are offering to pay. The town will have the right to reject any offer, said Attorney Pickering.
The town will give architect Bob Franklin time to weigh in on the Request for Proposals before the publication takes place.
In other business, demolition of buildings on the 5-6 acres that are referred to as “the Sims property” will take place soon. Mayor Bennett, at the meeting Monday night, said the town is under a court order to tear them down to rid the property of multiple safety hazards. The council approved spending up to the low bid of $90,000 for the work. Plans are to leave standing one building that was formerly a duplex and which is in fairly good shape, the fire tower and several landscaping features.