Rapid City has itself to blame for the demise of the previous Presidents Plaza project, Mayor Steve Allender said Thursday.
But by enlisting Elevate Rapid City to facilitate the redevelopment of the failed project's former site, city leaders appear hopeful that a drawn-out and politicized process like the one that killed the venture in the first place can be avoided.
“I think this is going to be the cornerstone development of the new Rapid City,” Allender said during a news conference held at the Ascent Innovation center on the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology campus.
Allender's remarks came just days after Elevate issued a request for proposal from developers interested in turning the city-owned parking lot where the plaza was to be located into a mixed-use structure. Desired uses for the site include a mix of office and retail space as well as public and private parking options, according to a copy of the request.
While the economic development group's executive committee will vet any project submissions that come forward, the Rapid City Council will have final approval over any proposals. Officials said that initial responses to the request, however, will not likely be made public.
Committee members with possible conflicts of interest will not be permitted to take part in the process, Elevate board chairman David Lust told reporters.
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Working with Elevate to coordinate the process will be the Tegra Group, which is acting in a similar capacity for the development of the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center's new arena.
“These folks know this space. They’ve done this around the country. They’ll be a good guide," Lust said.
Officials said that they do not have a specific vision in mind for the site such as how tall it will be and how many business and parking spaces it could accommodate. Such details will be left to developers.
Since the request went out, several individuals and entities have already approached the economic development group for more information, Lust said during the news conference. The group has set a submission deadline of July 31 for letters of interest.
Questions can be submitted to the group as late as Aug. 7, with final proposals due Aug.16.