Developer puts brakes on Heer's Tower lofts, Springfield News-Leader
"On Tuesday, he (Kevin McGowan) met with the owner of the McDaniel and Woodruff buildings -- downtown -- and indicated an interest in other buildings in Springfield.
"We are looking at more than the McDaniel and Woodruff buildings," he said. "I've said before that if we came to Springfield we weren't interested in doing just one building. I don't find the recent issues involving the square to detract from that.""*
Shop owner: Heer's delay 'frustrating' , Springfield News-Leader
I can't help but wonder if the News-Leader's Mr. Bridges told the shop owners that McGowan is interested in purchasing other properties on the square and that he doesn't find the controversy over Park Central Square's Eligibility for the National Register of Historic Places to be a detraction from those plans. I'd think other invested downtown property owners would find that anything but 'frustrating.'
Further, Springfield's Economic Development Director fully anticipates beginning "Phase II" of square renovations by the deadline of August 1, which will meet the contractual obligation with Kevin McGowan under their agreement, isn't that what she said?:
"I don't have a date for bidding yet, but we feel like we have just enough time to get everything underway so that we could start construction by August 1st.
"If we need to, we can break the canopy out as a separate contract. We already know what we need to do in order to take that down and that would absolutely be the start of construction on repair of the sidewalks, and we've been working with Kevin McGowan, he thinks that this is a really good solution. He obviously wants the sidewalks in front of his building repaired." - Economic Development Director Mary Lilly Smith, June 3, 2008
Why does it seem that some people are trying to make this out to be more of a problem than it really is, unnecessarily worrying the public that the city will end up buying back the Heer's Tower? Is that productive?
Yes, McGowan has a "put option" under the agreement with the city of Springfield that he can force them to buy back the Heer's Tower if they don't begin construction on the redevelopment of the square by August 1.
Yes, the city has double insurance on meeting that deadline. According to Smith, the city will be able to mark the beginning of construction on "Phase II" by starting the process of removing the canopy:
"...that would absolutely be the start of construction on repair of the sidewalks...." - Smith
So, there you go.
We can have our cake and eat it too. We can begin construction of Phase II, by the August 1 deadline, by removing the Halprin canopy, thus taking away the threat of McGowan exercising his "put option" and forcing the city to buy back the Heer's building, and the city will be in a postion to more carefully and fully weigh the decision concerning how best to renovate the Halprin designed portion of the square.
McGowan seems like a smart business man. He takes his time and is methodical about how he proceeds. Usually, less mistakes are made by a person who takes their time and doesn't rush into the decision making process than when one gets in a hurry to make something happen.
Kevin McGowan impresses me more and more all the time. :)
Update: Background: McGowan gung-ho about Heer's, April 23, 2008:
"McGowan doesn't seem the least bit concerned.
"That issue (Park Central Square design) is going to be resolved," he said. "The Heer's project is going to get done -- I promise you that.""