Developer’s plans to save St. Francis and Old Town Hall | Local
“I would note that it would be abnormal to carry out a project for which there would be no tax increase at the outset,” said Director of Economic Development Seth Sherry. “But the balance here is less [tax increment financing] district equals a similar return at the end of the day.
The proposal relies on CARA funds to purchase interest payments rather than for construction purposes, which Lepman said would allow him to raise substantial bank financing of $ 4 million. He is also considering a historic property tax freeze for additional capital of approximately $ 670,000 over 10 years.
Lepman said there are unknowable factors that will arise during the course of the project, which will likely affect the final cost. He noted the presence of asbestos and lead-based paint, but said his experienced team could handle both. There are also significant seismic challenges in the building he plans to tackle.
“I think this is an achievable project for us,” he said.
The proposal includes plans to move Lepman’s head office to the old town hall building it already owns, demolishing the old turkey processing plant it currently occupies and replacing it with an eight-story mixed-use hotel. Mixed use often refers to the combination of commercial and residential components on the same property.
The project start-up time is short. Lepman needs the city to transfer his option to purchase the St. Francis to him before it expires at the end of the year. He said his purchase of the building would be subject to a commitment from CARA. He also asks the city to build a three-story parking lot.