Council’s still waiting for spec building decision

Posted October 31, 2013 at 5:00 am

By Julie Ann Madden

There is still no word on the original USDA Revolving Loan application for Akron city officials to build a spec building between Akron Jo’s Cafe and The Akron Hometowner.

That is what Akron City Clerk Nicolle DeRocher told the four council members present and Mayor Harold Higman Jr. at the Oct. 22 council meeting.

“Our application is still in the review process,” said DeRocher. “It has not been denied.”

If it does get turned down for some reason because it doesn’t compete well against the other applications to get funded, the council will have three options, she explained.

The options are:

• First, the council could resubmit the same application which is for a spec building customized for Larson Design & Boutique to lease one-half and city officials to rent out the other half. Currently, the agreement includes that after 10 years of lease payments, Larson Design & Boutique owner Alesia Larson would own the building. She also has the option to pay off the lease agreement earlier — after one year of building occupancy.

City officials could make a few changes to the application to hopefully help it score higher in the next review process. However, the USDA Revolving Loan application would be considered a “continuing application,” meaning it would not be its first time competing for funding and therefore, would lose points.

One option would require the city’s funding match to increase to 50 percent of the total project cost. All possible options would need to be reviewed by the council.

DeRocher noted if Larson would decide not to commit to the spec building agreement after USDA Revolving Loan funds are awarded, then city officials would have to withdraw the application because it’s specific to her business now.

• Second, city officials could submit a revised application for a “true” spec building — not tailored to any specific tenant; or

• Third, the council could choose not to submit or resubmit any application; therefore, not build a spec building.

The federal government’s shutdown, Oct. 1 – 16 with many employees on furlough, delayed the process some, said DeRocher, adding once the original application’s outcome is known, the council will need to make decisions on what to do next.

Editor’s Note: This past week on Facebook, Larson announced she is moving her business from the 100 N. Third St. location to the Britton business complex at 351 Hwy 12 plus expanding to Le Mars. However, she is still interested in participating as a tenant in the spec building.

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