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Developers Given More Time In River City Revitalization

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The development firm behind River City Crossing in Sand Springs will have more time to work a deal with the City. Keystone Redevelopers LLC will have until March 31, 2008, to conclude its $6.2 million purchase of the 27-acre River City Crossing site in the Keystone Corridor revitalization project. Sand Springs Development Authority members and City Council approved the agreement Monday night.

The original purchase contract was set to expire Dec. 21. Other conditions of the agreement have not changed, according to City Manager Douglas Enevoldsen. The agreement calls for Keystone Redevelopers to purchase the 27-acre tract located southeast of the Highway 97 interchange with the Sand Springs Expressway for $6.2 million. The agreement allowed all parties a six-month "due diligence" period to conclude the transaction. Two automatic 90-day extensions followed.

"A lot of effort has been invested with Keystone Redevelopers in this project to date, and all parties involved have agreed the additional time is appropriate to produce a quality development in line with the community's expressed wants and needs," Douglas Enevoldsen said.

"Projects such as this one regularly go through many twists and turns before final results emerge. As this is our community's signature revitalization location, we need to get it right."

Keystone Redevelopers deposited $100,000 in an escrow account during the original due diligence period to maintain the original agreement. That money will now be released to the City for its use. The extension requires the firm to pay $20,000 into a new escrow account by Dec. 15, with an additional $80,000 to be paid by March 15, 2008. Keystone Redevelopers is a subsidiary firm of Mperical Development, a St. Louis based firm formed in 2003 by Joseph A. and Molly H. Maloney.

Both the Development Authority and City Council voted to approve the agreement after separate executive sessions with City staff and developer representatives. Oklahoma law allows matters such as real estate transactions to be discussed by public bodies in closed session to preserve the confidentiality of negotiations.

No formal announcements have been made concerning future tenants at River City Crossing.

"Negotiations are continuing in earnest between the developer and several national retail and restaurant firms. However, the dynamics of the current retail market and the upcoming holiday season have lengthened the time needed to formalize tenant announcements. Recognizing this, both the Development Authority and Council readily agreed to the extension," Enevoldsen said.

Additional adjustments in the development agreement to accommodate changes in the project's dynamics may occur when the current due diligence period ends in March. One of those adjustments is completion of environmental remediation cases for four abandoned underground fuel storage tank sites. City staff and an environmental consultant continue to work with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission to conclude the cases by late winter. A Brownfields certification process will follow.

Efforts also continue to conclude an agreement to remove railroad tracks along the north edge of the property and from nearby Main Street.

"All parties involved recognize the community's keen interest in this project and the desire to see results," Enevoldsen said. "There are still several roads yet to travel, and patience continues to be a virtue."

In a separate action, SSDA and Council formally purchased the Early Childhood Center school property at Morrow Road and Highway 97 and authorized a $3.5 million lump sum payment upon closing of the sale. The school is not a part of the River City Crossing property.

Originally aired 12/4/2007 6:28 AM - Updated 12/4/2007 7:01 AM

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