Here is that prepared statement from the Wayzata Bay Redevelopment Co. we have been waiting for:
For Immediate Release
Wayzata, Minnesota (March 6, 2009). Presbyterian Homes has issued a revised schedule for the completion of planning and construction for the Bay Center. While the planned Bay Center redevelopment remains unchanged in size and scope from the plans approved by the City Council in June of 2008, the new schedule delays construction from a 2009 to a 2010 construction start. This change essentially moves the construction start date back one year from the schedule adopted in late 2008 when the economic recession was anticipated to be milder than has been the case. The objective of Wayzata Bay Redevelopment Company simply is to deliver the new project when the economy has recovered sufficiently to support effective demand for new commercial and residential space.
During the extended redevelopment period, the redevelopment team will focus on the following activities:
- Work with the city to amend the current Redevelopment Agreement to accommodate the revised redevelopment schedule
- Advance design for all five blocks and finish design of initial development blocks
- Complete by mid-2009 the current testing for foundation designs and geothermal capacity at the site
- Finish contractor selection process and integrate general contractor with design team
- Value engineering review of all design and finalize construction pricing
- Complete common area association documentation
- Update market studies in the fall of this year
- Conduct focus groups for the planned housing
- Implement aggressive commercial leasing program once economy shows signs of recovery
- Monitor macro economic indicators to determine final project commencement date
This work is all necessary prior to the final City review process which is now scheduled to commence by May of 2010. At that time, the final plans for the initial blocks to be developed will be submitted for approval. Concurrently with presentation of the final plans, the development team will begin the building permit process with the city and its consultants.
When asked why the project time-line is being pushed back, Ed Briesemeister, Managing Director of Wayzata Bay Redevelopment Company, stated, "The new timeline is in reaction to the extreme economic downturn we all find ourselves in today and the impact that has had on the demand for new condominiums, retail, office and even senior housing. We are confident that the redevelopment plan is sound and we expect recovery in the general economy will revive solid demand for the new Bay Center. However, in the current environment people are reluctant to make any significant economic commitment until they see some positive signs economically. Given the choppy nature of the economy it would not be advisable for Presbyterian Homes to accelerate any construction in this environment. This extension of the pre-development period will require working with the City of Wayzata to amend the existing Redevelopment Agreement. We still have much to do in the planning and pre-development phase of the project. Market studies will have to be updated to ensure that timing of delivery and design features reflect market expectations. Our team will be very busy in the upcoming months completing engineering and architecture, preparing for the final city review process. As we have from the beginning of the project, we will work with our Design Review Committee, city officials and community members to get feedback in the final design phase."
When asked about management plans for the current Bay Center building, Ed Briesemeister commented further, “We are working hard to find some interim uses for the increasing amount of vacant space at the mall during the extended time in the pre-development phase. On a positive note, Kraemer's Hardware Store that had planned to close in mid 2009 is now likely to remain a Bay Center tenant until the mall closes, and we are hopeful of finding an operator for Glaciers drive-in to keep it open this summer season."
When asked how the changes affect Presbyterian Homes, John Mehrkens, V.P. of Development for Senior Housing Partners, commented, "While we remain fully committed to the redevelopment of the Wayzata Bay Center, the revised scheduling is prudent and appropriate given current economic conditions. The extended pre-development timetable will allow us to continue to refine and customize the design, evaluate best project sequencing, and more fully address the technical aspects of the plan. We continue to have regular contact and are encouraged by the interest of the over 250 people currently on our waiting list. Despite the economy, we do not anticipate changing the scope and quality of the project and we look forward to continuing our mission of serving older adults in the Wayzata community.“
For more information on the Wayzata Bay Center Redevelopment, go to www.wayzatabaydevco.com or contact Ed Briesemeister at (763) 245-0962. For more information on Presbyterian Homes, go to www.preshomes.org.