Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Pawtucket 11-07-2018

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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6 PAWTUCKET NOVEMBER 7-13, 2018 | VALLEY BREEZE | PAWTUCKET EDITION administration to Mayor Donald Grebien, declined to confirm that the asking price was the deal-breaker here, though he didn't deny it. He confirmed that since media- tion talks broke down, the owners have threatened to sue the city at least three times if Grebien doesn't force the City Council to postpone Wednesday's meeting. "The legal argument there escapes me," he said, adding that the coun- cil has taken "extraordinary steps" indicating the city's openness and willingness to work with the owner without any need for site acquisition by the city. Officials have said they'll work with the owner to find a "good gate- way project" for the site, he said, taking multiple steps to encourage redevelopment of the property over the years, including creating a zoning overlay district to ease regulations and later amending that district to add the George's Games building when that was added to the property. There have been "extraordinary steps" taken to facilitate redevelop- ment "in a quality way" for the public good, he said, but "that never took place." The owner's threats are "baffling," he said. City Council President David Moran said Monday that he hadn't officially heard the threat of a lawsuit as of that point, but planned to move forward with the meeting regardless. The asking price for the assort- ment of parcels making up the Apex properties, once tabbed at more than $20 million according to sources familiar with previous discussions, were cited as one reason the owners of the Pawtucket Red Sox decided to move to Worcester instead of moving forward with a new stadium at the Apex site. As has frequently been the case in matters pertaining to the Apex prop- erties, the owners are again declining to comment this week. The Breeze reported last week that city leaders were discussing options on how to move forward with the potential acquisition of the depart- ment store and its surrounding prop- erties at 100 Main St. Apex owners have completed extensive cosmetic upgrades to the main department store building that stands alongside Route 95 in recent weeks, including new sealcoating and striping of the parking lot, new paint from top to bottom, and removal of the recognizable light poles previ- ously dotting the property. Those upgrades are thought to be part of an effort to make the case that the prop- erty is not neglected. Apex representatives made a public plea at a meeting earlier this month that officials not move for- ward with the amendment to the redevelopment plan. City Council members decided at that point to still hold the hearing but to add an option to the amendment allowing owner Andrew Gates to identify a reuse for the properties creating "a vibrant and welcoming downtown gateway worthy of this great city," as Zelazo put it. Up for consideration at the Nov. 7 hearing is language allowing a negotiated purchase or acquisition by eminent domain, a process giv- ing government officials the ability to acquire a property without the owner's authority if it is deemed to be in the public's interest. Grebien has said the city is mov- ing forward, even without the new PawSox stadium, to revitalize the downtown and riverfront district, including the "center of downtown" where Apex stands. That property has long been labeled the biggest hindrance to redevelopment efforts in the downtown. Officials remain in discussions with multiple entities about redeveloping the site. The ball got rolling on passing a redevelopment plan prior to the announced exit of the PawSox, and officials have kept it moving with the stadium plan no longer in place, saying the idea of the Apex prop- erty's revitalization having a spillover impact across the downtown hasn't changed. According to the mayor, revitaliza- tion of the property could happen either through the leasing of the Apex building to a commercial ten- ant the city supports or through the acquisition and redevelopment of the property through the Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency. The Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency approved Amendment 15 to the Pawtucket Redevelopment Plan, the "Downtown Gateway Project," on Aug. 28, after the announcement that the PawSox would be leaving for Worcester. Zelazo said officials remain very much open to Gates finding an ade- quate use for his property. "There's clearly a desire on the city's part to see that property re- engaged and redeveloped in a way that benefits the city, there's clearly a public good to that," he said. Moving forward with Wednesday's hearing and amendment in no way hinders any other sort of ongoing talks, said Zelazo. City officials stand firm in their belief that this property has been underutilized for far too long and that residents want to see progress, he said. APEX From Page One IN BRIEF URI explains 'nutraceuticals' Friday PAWTUCKET – The URI College of Pharmacy will present nutraceu- ticals and which ones may benefit managing healthcare at the Leon Mathieu Senior Center, 420 Main St., on Friday, Nov. 9, at 12:30 p.m. Nutraceuticals are defined as "food or parts of a food that provide medi- cal or health benefits, including the prevention and treatment of disease." This event is free to seniors 55 and older. Refreshments will be served. Call 401-728-7582. Library closed Monday for Veterans' Day PAWTUCKET – The Pawtucket Public Library will be closed on Monday, Nov. 12 in observance of Veterans' Day. The library's Passport Acceptance Office will also be closed for the day. Teen Anime Club meets PAWTUCKET – Teens in grades 6-12 are invited to join other fans of Japanese animation at the Pawtucket Public Library, 13 Summer St., on Thursday, Nov. 15, in the Campbell Auditorium from 6 - 8 p.m. Stop in, hang out, get to know some new anime, some older anime and enjoy pizza provided by the library. Call 401-725-3714 ext. 221 or email Dr. Susanna Magee, OB/GYN | Dr. John Morton, OB/GYN Full Circle Health 401-767-1576 Dr. Patrick Nugent, GYN Maternal Child Health Center 401-597-5070 Willa Campbell and Grace Snell, Nurse Midwives RI Women's Health & Midwifery 401-597-5070

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