As crews begin dismantling the site of the former airport, the city is beginning to entertain offers for the sale of portions of Sloulin Field for redevelopment.
City Administrator David Tuan presented the City Commission with two proposals regarding the development of approximately 40 acres of land at the Sloulin site.
The city began accepting proposals a little less than a month ago, closing out the period of advertisement on Nov. 7. During that time, Tuan said the city received two bids, from Copeland Development and Construction Co, Inc.; and another from Darwin Lindahl Architects with developer David Billion, owner of Williston Motors.
“The two proposals differ a fair bit,” Tuan explained to the commission. “One is for a broader development concept, and the other is a little more geared towards a car lot type of development. They’re both good, but the prices are distinct.”
Copeland’s proposal came in at $3 per square foot, with an option for up to $12 per square foot for portions of the land. The developer submitted a three-phase plan for the land, which would consist of five acres for development of a big-box retailer, 12 acres for retail tenants and another 12 acres for uses such as quick services restaurants, full-service restaurants, small shop retail, small shop service businesses or financial institutions. Concept drawings of the proposal show possibilities for multiple retail and restaurant locations, as well as areas for a grocer and cinema.
Lindahl’s proposal came at less than $3 per square foot, and also included a multi-phase plan for development.
Initially, construction would begin in spring of 2020 for a new Williston Motors facility on about 8 acres of land. Continuing on, the developer also included a big-box retailer in its plan, consisting of 20 acres, with three to four acres for retail development and two to three acres for fast food businesses. In a letter to Tuan, Billion made an offer of $5 million for the entire 40 acres, or $1.5 million for the eight acres needed for the new dealership.
Tuan recommended to the commission to accept the offer from Copeland, but Tuan said discussions would continue with Lindahl and Billion to see if there would be further interest in other portions of the land when it became ready to advertise for development.
“I think that’s a good discussion to have,” he said. “It’s good to know their interest and what they’re planning to do or hope to do. We can engage with them and see what other areas they might have interest in to see if there’s a fit somewhere. That’s definitely an option.”
The commission voted unanimously to accept Copeland’s proposal and move forward with development discussions.
Tuan has said previously that the land at Sloulin Field would not be available for development to begin until at least April, once the property has been returned back to the city by the FAA.