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objective. She said ruling the existing City Hall out in terms of its marketability for sale on those six <br />opinions seemed limiting and asked for staff’s rationale. Mr. Penwell replied that Ms. Bettman’s question <br />underscored the difficulty of trying to discuss development ideas and property in an arena that was very <br />competitive and secretive. He said that staff contacted other developers, including ones in Portland, and one <br />that specialized in reuse of existing facilities, but only six were willing to speak on the record. He said even <br />those six developers were reticent about the short-term prospects for redevelopment. <br /> <br />Ms. Bettman asked if redevelopment meant actually changing the structure as opposed to someone <br />purchasing the property and using it for another purpose until it became financially viable to redevelop it. <br />Mr. Penwell said the overriding sentiment was that developers could extract some income from the existing <br />facility, especially the parking, for some period of time until the market was such that development <br />opportunities made it cost effective to demolish the structure and build something with greater density and <br />mix of uses. <br /> <br />Mr. Pryor said he also was reluctant to start narrowing site choices but recognized the value of beginning to <br />have some certainty. He was willing to move forward because he believed the current site was the best <br />choice; the City owned the property and it comprised a full block. He did not think that City government <br />should be “shoe-horned” into a smaller space. He said that Site 8 was next to an historic building—the <br />Smeede Hotel—and he would be reluctant to demolish if more space was required. He said that half blocks <br />had problems with access, public space and other issues that would not exist with a full block site. He said <br />the City was wise to own a full block when the current facility was built and would be wise to retain that full <br />block in its possession for future needs, including the City Hall. <br /> <br />Ms. Taylor reiterated her position that the current building should be renovated, but if there was going to be <br />a new building the Sears site should not be eliminated because it was already owned by the City and close to <br />public transit and the library. <br /> <br />Regarding the Sears site, Mayor Piercy said if the three RFP responses were as good as anticipated that <br />would fulfill the council’s desire for mixed-use development in downtown. For that reason she was reluctant <br />to use it for the City Hall when it could provide an opportunity for mixed-use development and stimulate <br />other desirable activities in the area. She was open to the sites recommended by the City Manager. She <br />stressed her interest in a component of City Hall that connected it to the community, perhaps through a <br />cultural center that would help educate about the history of various groups and the roles they have played in <br />the community. <br /> <br />Mr. Kelly declared he was comfortable narrowing the site options as it was necessary to further any design <br />concepts. He said if neither of the two recommended sites proved viable, the council could always <br />reconsider other sites at a later date. He was not opposed to a full block site but pointed out that most small <br />cities did not hesitate at half or quarter block higher rise development. He agreed with Mayor Piercy’s <br />remarks about the Sears site and the importance of a publicly interesting space such as a cultural center in a <br />new city hall. <br /> <br />Ms. Bettman said she was willing to narrow the options, but was concerned that if none of the current <br />proposals for the former Sears site were successful, the City would be left with a big hole in the ground. <br />She wanted to see the motion include language that the Sears site would be included pending successful <br />outcome of the RFP process to avoid removing it entirely from consideration. Regarding the current site, <br />she preferred to spend money on amenities and square footage rather than on rent and related expenses to <br /> <br /> <br /> <br />MINUTES—City Council September 20, 2006 Page 3 <br /> Work Session <br /> <br />