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Marquette City Commission to examine Veridea project

Public hearing scheduled for tonight’s panel session

September 10, 2012
By KYLE WHITNEY - Journal Staff Writer ( , The Mining Journal

MARQUETTE - During a regular meeting tonight, the Marquette City Commission will consider changes to the city zoning ordinance, look at the possibility of hiring consultants to help shape the city's future and weigh the approval of an agreement related to a downtown development.

The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. today in the commission chambers at city hall.

The commission will hold a public hearing - one of four scheduled for tonight - related to a proposed planned unit development agreement for the property at 857 W. Washington St.

Article Photos

Marquette’s Veridea Group is planning to create a $31 million development on Washington Street at the site of the old Sara Lee bakery, seen here. The Marquette City Commission will hold a public hearing tonight and will decide whether to draw up a planned unit development agreement between Veridea and the city. (Journal photo by Matt Keiser)

There, Marquette's Veridea Group plans to create a $31 million development at the site of a former bakery. Veridea Group officials have said the planned development, a 147,000-square-foot commercial, retail and residential space, will expand the city's downtown area.

The four-building complex will include an underground parking garage and a landscaped north side abutting the city bike path.

In June, Veridea secured city commission approval for a brownfield plan that could allow the group to recapture, over more than two decades, up to $17.6 million in tax revenues on improvements made to the property.

Veridea estimates that, following the retirement of brownfield obligations, annual tax revenues for the property will total more than $1.3 million.

Current plans call for the project to be constructed in four phases and to be fully completed by the summer of 2016.

The board is also expected to take action on a recommendation to commission a land use plan for the city's Tourist Park.

The city intends for the group behind the plan - the recommendation is to award the project to Marquette's Sanders & Czapski PLLC - to conduct a public planning process to determine community needs, with regard to the park.

The plan will include a traffic flow analysis and parking plan and will touch on the possibility of updating facilities and repurposing Setter Field.

Finally, the commission will receive a recommendation from City Manager Bill Vajda to bring to town a Washington, D.C.-based economic development professional to review the city's development and to suggest next steps.

Harley Methfessel, a practicing attorney who has worked with the U.S. Congress on issues of rural economic development, visited the city in September of 2010 for the same reason.

As during his first trip, Methfessel will not charge for the consultation and the commission will consider only whether to reimburse him for travel-related expenses, at a cost not to exceed $2,500.

In other action, the commission is expected to:

Kyle Whitney can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.



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