At their May 3, 2021 meeting, the Garner Town Council voted unanimously to endorse the town staff’s recommendation to move forward with Lansing Melbourne Group (LMG) as developer for the Downtown Opportunity Site. This decision is the culmination of an almost two year process of working with the UNC School of Government’s Development Finance Initiative (DFI) to complete pre-development analysis and solicit developer interest for the site, located between the historic business district and the new Recreation Center.
DFI consultant Matt Crook gave a brief overview of the process leading up to developer selection and Downtown Development Manager Mari Howe presented the staff recommendation to work with LMG. Howe told the council that LMG received very high praise from other communities that they worked in, where their original projects often expanded to include additional phases.
In her presentation, Howe shared several key factors that led to staff choosing LMG, including:
– their experience with public private partnerships,
– their background with parking development,
– their community oriented development process,
– their “club-level” financing model,
– their interest in future phases of development, and
– their local approach to retail recruitment.
Council members Demian Dellinger and Gra Singleton participated in interviews with the final two development candidates. Dellinger agreed that LMG would be a good fit for Garner’s culture and needs in Downtown Garner. Singleton said that he felt confident that LMG would work hard to make sure they could deliver what the community wanted, even if that meant changing some elements of their original proposal.
Town council authorized staff to start working with DFI and LMG on negotiating a Memorandum of Understanding for the project, a process which will take about 90 days.