City Working On Agreement To Remove Developer From Mixed-Use Project
By Dan Spalding
WARSAW — City officials are seeking to remove Matthews LLC from the multi-use project on North Buffalo Street.
Matthews LLC agreed six years ago to develop the mixed-use building and a swath of new residential lots known as the Buffalo Street redevelopment project.
While the first residential phase has been constructed, demolition on the old Indiana American Water building where the mixed-use building would stand began last year and then stopped.
After months of waiting, the city recently lined up a contractor to level the remaining debris and announced it would seek to remove Matthews from the multi-use building.
Officials have had little to say about the arrangement because they still want Matthews to complete the residential work, much of which has not been started.
Warsaw Community Economic and Development Director Jeremy Skinner and Mayor Joe Thallemer are expected to negotiate with Dave Matthews on the issue.
Skinner asked the Warsaw Redevelopment Commission on Monday, Sept. 12, to approve the framework of an agreement that would get the ball rolling before both parties meet.
Redevelopment Commission Member Rick Snodgrass said he wants to be aware of any financial arrangements before the commission agrees.
“We’ve been messing with this guy for a long time for nonperformance. What’s another month?” Snodgrass asked.
Skinner said the city has already begun talking with other developers and still needs to update the state’s Regional Development Authority on the issue.
“If there are major changes to this, we can bring it back to the board in October,” Skinner said.
The two-phase project relied on Matthews investing $15.5 million for the residential project and $5 for the mixed-use project.
Details on the finances were not discussed Monday, but Skinner confirmed that Matthews might seek the return of some money expended on the demolition project.
“We could be sitting here in November and still not have it resolved. I have not given this to Matthews yet, so I don’t know what his reply is going to be,” Skinner said.
Commission President Tim Meyer said if the city reaches an agreement, he would share it with the commission and would seek a vote on the issue if there are concerns from other commission members.