President's Plaza developers scrap city proposal, move ahead - KOTA Territory News

President's Plaza developers scrap city proposal, move ahead with original plans

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The developers of the President's Plaza in downtown Rapid City are terminating the discussion surrounding a council proposal, that if approved, would have infused $5 million city dollars into the project to increase the number of overall parking spaces.

For developers at Dream Design, the company behind the project, receiving the money meant they would be subject to probing questions from city leaders regarding the profitability of the project.   Developer, Hani Shafai says those types of questions are unusual.  While the company is willing to be open regarding the public portion of the project, Shafai says the private venture is just that: private.

The President's Plaza is supposed to be a joint public-private venture.  The public portion is a parking garage; and the private end is a hotel, retail outlets and offices.  The city would pony up the land and about $6 million.  The rest of the $50 million comes from the developer and investors.

Mayor Sam Kooiker contends that success of the city's parking structure depends on the success of the President's Plaza. He feels the city should be privy to certain financial and project viability information.

Council President, Jerry Wright says the entire situation is unfortunate. He says the $5 million in city funds would have expedited the project and made more parking spaces available downtown. He is frustrated with the Mayor and the continuing questions that he says are unnecessary and detrimental to the project.

"Members of the council and I think the business committee would of liked to have seen this occur," Wright said. "It would have helped us all, and it's a sad day that we've taken a step back backwards."

The developers still plan to move forward with the project, in its original form, and honor the previously signed contracts.

 

 

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