Aiken City Leaders release long list of to-do’s for interested developers

Developers looking to get in on the downtown Aiken revitalization have a long list of requirements to meet.

AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) – Developers looking to get in on the downtown Aiken revitalization have a long list of requirements to meet.

City leaders released the criteria, that interested builder must meet, in order for their proposals to be considered.

Some people are not happy that the city bought a Transferable Option on the block of Newberry St. that is up for sale.

Still, the clock is ticking and the city’s chance to have a say, on what goes on that property, is almost up.

“We’ve got a lot of nice buildings here that could be put back in functional order,” Det Haislip, the owner of True Value told WJBF NewsChannel 6.

Haislip says the business owners on Newberry St. shouldn’t be worried. He says when it comes to redevelopment having the city involved means more security for tenants.

“They want to enable the property owners to be able to pull permits and remodel but there’s got to be some order to it.” Haislip said.

In the Request For Proposals the city lays out a number of requirements.

The developer must name the architectural firm, attorneys and even engineers they plan to hire for the project.

The city of Aiken is also requiring the developer, who takes over the property, will have to meet with all the business owners on the block.

The owner of Warneke’s Cleaners, didn’t want to talk to WJBF NewsChannel 6 on camera, but off camera he says that still doesn’t reassure him his business will be here for years to come.

While the city has addressed that they have no intentions of closing down any businesses, leaders went a step further by mandating that all proposals be submitted with a track record of tenants that may have been displaced in past projects.

The city manager say proposal that don’t include this vital piece of information will be immediately rejected.

Still the long list of to-do’s isn’t stopping the growing interest in the unique block of Aiken.

“7 separate development teams, some local, some regional, and some other have contacted us.” Aiken City Manager John Klimm said.

Some concepts have been floating around to include places to live above the retailers.

“I’d like to see more housing, apartment housing near downtown… within walking distance to a lot of the shops.” Rob Machen told WJBF NewsChannel 6.

However, it’s going to be a few months before builder present their ideas to city leader.

“At least the awareness is up that we have to get somethings accomplished here.” Haisplip said.

WJBF NewsChannel 6 did reach out to Aiken Mayor Rick Osbon who says since he recused himself he cannot comment.

On January 11, 2017 the city is hosting a Pre-Proposal Conference, It’s a chance for interested developers to walk the property and ask questions.

February 3, 2017 is the deadline for developers to submit proposals.

The city has until April to make its decision before the transferable option runs out.

Count on WJBF NewsChannel 6 to bring you the latest details on this story. 

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