The Harrison Deadline

Obviously, construction has yet to begin on the retail/condo portion of the Harrison Square project.  It’s still a hole in the ground between Jefferson Boulevard and the outfield wall for the new ballpark.  There is some construction occurring on the west end of the project, but this is for the pump station facilities so vital to the project’s success.  Nothing official has been publicly said by Barry Real Estate, developers of the retail/condo portion, in regards to progress of sales or even a possible timeline for construction.

In Saturday’s Journal Gazette, Ben Lanka reported that The Harrison will probably not be completed in time for the opening of the ballpark or even the deadline set forth in the Definitive Agreementsigned last year.  The city is not counting on the tax revenues that will be generated from the building until March 2010.  Thus, if The Harrison doesn’t open on previously released schedules, it shouldn’t prove to difficult a hardship on the City’s bond payments.  By March 2010, the new Courtyard by Marriott should be completed and operating as well.

[..] He [Greg Leatherman, Redevelopment Commission Executive Director] said if the project begins construction in September, as he believes it will, it would likely be completed in July. While he said this could take away some of the cachet of next year’s opening day, he is realistic about selling condominiums in a tough housing market.

“I know how hard they are working, and I hope they reach success as completely as possible,” he said.

[…] Leatherman said it is reasonable that the first-floor retail section of the building will be completed for opening day, which he would consider a success.

Councilman Tom Smith, R-1st, agreed the city shouldn’t hold too strictly to the June 1 deadline. Smith opposed Harrison Square. He said the condominium piece is the most vital to downtown revitalization, so the city should provide some slack if the project is done later than promised.

“It’s the right thing for downtown, regardless if it’s part of Harrison Square or not,” he said.

Smith said he would oppose any fines or actions against Barry if the project wasn’t done on time, so long as visible progress was being made.

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