Town Selects Developer for Downtown Site

Town Selects Developer for Downtown Site

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. 

Watch the full presentation to Town Council

Town seeking proposals for Downtown Opportunity Site

Town seeking proposals for Downtown Opportunity Site

The Town of Garner, North Carolina is now accepting Development Partner Proposals for the development of property on W Main Street that has come to be known as the “Downtown Opportunity Site”. The Town seeks a qualified development partner(s) to develop the Town-owned site into a mixed-use development of up to four stories that can include a mix of retail, residential, and/or office uses. Responses to the solicitation are due no later than February 26, 2021.

The Development Finance Initiative, a program of the UNC School of Government, has been hired by the town to work with interested development teams to present development concepts for review and consideration by the Town. DFI will help development teams understand and respond to the Town’s requirements for the development of the site. This process will culminate in the selection of a development partner or partners and the negotiation of one or more development service agreements for public-private partnerships.

Prior to releasing this solicitation, DFI and the Town spent over 12 months completing significant pre-development on the site to ensure the project is supported by the community, endorsed by the Town Council, and is financially feasible for development partners. The site is a roughly 0.3-acre development pad next to the newly constructed Garner Recreation Center and is located in the heart of downtown commercial activity within walking distance of multiple parks and recreational areas.

Low vacancy and limited supply of retail and Class A office space, coupled with steady growth in population and income, suggests an opportunity for a profitable mixed-use development. The site is also located within a qualified federal Opportunity Zone. The Opportunity Zone (OZ) program, created as a part of the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, aims to encourage private investment in low income communities.

The full Solicitation for Development Proposals is available from DFI, or by accessing the link below. Please contact Matt Crook at [email protected] or Rory Dowling at [email protected] for additional details.