CLINTON — Clinton residents and business owners heard an update on possible property renovation in the Lyons District on Tuesday night.
The Lyons Business and Professional Association welcomed business owners in the Lyons District to hear about the progress of businesses there. Among the guest speakers was John “Omar” Bradley, president of Revive. He was present at Rastrelli’s Restaurant to share Revive’s findings on the Lyons neighborhood.
When Bradley and his team were first asked about the possibility of renovating properties in the Lyons District, he said their first step was determining whether Lyons and Clinton were “right and ready.” According to Bradley, this means there must be local residents who are committed, both vocally and financially. He said it is common to find communities that are not “right and ready,” but they found Clinton is ready for growth, according to the study.
“More often than not, (the community's) not ready,” Bradley said. “They’re either not willing to do the market study or not really looking at themselves as objectively as I found Clinton is willing. So we’re happy to be here looking at projects and we’re looking at a lot of different things.”
Bradley said one of the next steps will be to talk with the property owners in the Lyons District. He stated they would like to meet with the property owners individually to see where they stand and if it is possible for their property to be used in the renovations. There are several different options for the property owners, and Bradley says it is crucial that his company discusses these options with the them.
“We have spoken to a number of property owners, some of whom are in the room tonight, about their interest in selling their property,” Bradley said. “We haven’t met with everybody. Part of the reason we had this meeting was so that we could communicate with more of the property owners to see what they wanted to do. There’s a lot of ways to structure transactions.”
According to Bradley, in many of these cases, they will buy the property. However, he did say there are cases when property owners do not want the property bought outright. He mentioned property owners who want to leave their business inside the building. If they do not want to leave, Bradley said they will work with the property owners to find a deal that works for both the property owners and the company.
They have also discussed a couple of unoccupied pieces of land as other options for property growth. Two areas the company has discussed with Lyons and the city of Clinton is a former theater property and some of the Sawmill Museum’s property. He also mentioned a couple vacant lots as possible areas for property expansion.
Bradley said the timeline for the project is somewhat of an unknown at this time. Since it is a historic restoration project, he said much of the project hinges on when tax credits are approved. This could happen as soon as July of this year, with construction beginning as early as October, according to Bradley.
“The state of Iowa has another round of tax applications they’re accepting in July of this year,” Bradley said. “If we’re able to assemble enough momentum, we could make an application for credits in July of 2015. That is our intention. We already had three or four property owners talk to us about transactions they want to do. So we would submit a round of tax credit applications this July. If approved, those approvals probably come in September. If they come in September, we would put a shovel in the ground in October.”
Herald Staff Writer John Rohlf can be reached at email@example.com.