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A proposed redevelopment of a South Main Street lot is progressing well enough that the Brighton Urban Renewal Authority has repaid a $2.5 million loan from the city. “We have seen that the city …
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A proposed redevelopment of a South Main Street lot is progressing well enough that the Brighton Urban Renewal Authority has repaid a $2.5 million loan from the city.
“We have seen that the city has been having challenges with the pandemic and there has been such great support for our residents and businesses, coming from the city,” said Candace Werth, chair of the authority, told City Councilors during a Jan. 26 study session on the Zoom networking platform. “BURA really just wanted to do our part and since we were financially in a place to do it, we figured this is the time, the city needs it. So we wanted to get that money back into the city’s funds.”
The authority began working to redevelop the vacant 4.23-acre lot on the corner of South Main Street and Bromley Lane in 2015.
“This was a vacant lot with a dilapidated building left from a car dealership that had closed many, many years earlier,” Werth said. “When we began, we had a developer that wanted to build a hotel and conference center at the site.“
The authority borrowed $2.5 from the city to purchase the lot, with plans to pay it back in 2022. The original developer backed out but the authority began working with different developers. The current developers, Evergreen Development, plans to bring new stores and restaurants to the lot. According to the development agreement, they must sign up at least two new restaurants to build on the site, with a goal of drawing customers to the area all day, at night and on weekends.
“The current developer has evolved the vision for the property several times, based on the challenges that come with developing such an area,” Werth said. “The project has taken longer than we’d hoped but at this point, the developer is now in the process of getting letters of intent from end-users and the project is starting to gain some traction.”
But Werth said the authority has enough money in the bank to repay the loan well before the Sept. 2022 due date, with interest. The full amount owed to the city is $2,568,949.
“The members of the BURA commission truly appreciate our ongoing partnership with the city of Brighton and the council, and we look forward to working with you in the future,” Werth said.
Councilors said the authority’s decision was a good move. Councilor Clint Blackhurst said it should ease tensions between the city and the authority.
“I know this has been a disappointment for all of us,” Blackhurst said. “We have all taken a little heat for that South Main project but it’s good to see things moving ahead. We do appreciate being paid back early.”
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