All went according to plan Tuesday as officials signed off on the deal for the Apex site.
"I want to thank everyone who has worked to get us to where we are with the Apex settlement yesterday evening, which was approved by the Pawtucket City Council in a unanimous vote following extensive and productive mediation discussions over the past few months," said Mayor Donald Grebien. I want to thank the council and Redevelopment Agency for their work to prioritize the redevelopment of our riverfront. With last night's decision and the settlement we have reached, we are taking the next important step in continuing the redevelopment we have made so far in Pawtucket and I look forward to the opportunities this will bring in the future."
All five Apex properties were included in the settlement and the total settlement amount for the acquisition by the city is $17,693,500, with a short-term BAN with JP Morgan through the Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency and long-term financing through Super TIF tool, grants, or sale.
There are lease-back provisions in the settlement which allow the tire service center and businesses in the main building to phase out.
Bill Fischer, spokesman for Apex, issued the a statement after Tuesday's votes by the PRA and City Council.
"We appreciate tonight’s vote by the City Council and the PRA to bring this transaction to a successful conclusion for all parties. It has been a very long journey to get to this point, but the Apex Development team continued to negotiate and work with the city and the PRA in good faith as we knew this was a priority for the city," he said.
"We wish Mayor Grebien and all city leaders the best of luck as they work to reset the entire surrounding area to create jobs and generate economic activity for the citizens of Pawtucket. Apex Development has worked tirelessly with the city to achieve this outcome."
PAWTUCKET – The downtown domino some might have doubted would ever fall appears to be toppling, as the city closes in on the purchase of the tired landmark Apex Department Store property.
The City Council and Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency were set to meet in a joint session Tuesday evening to sign off on a settlement deal with Andrew Gates and the Apex Companies to purchase the main building with the funny-shaped roof and surrounding properties on the Pawtucket waterfront.
Officials weren’t disclosing terms of the deal hammered out before a mediator since the summer, but there have been clues along the way. When the sides entered mediation, Pawtucket officials were targeting a purchase price of $16 million, while Apex owners were seeking somewhere around $18 million.
The City Council last year authorized spending up to $20 million for the acquisition of the property and associated demolition and other costs to make way for a city park and private mixed-use development, and hasn’t authorized any borrowing related to the property since then.
An agenda detailing the joint meeting Tuesday stated that cases between the parties were up for settlement related to the purchase of five Apex properties at 100 Main St., 101 Main St., 46 Main St., 10 School St., and 33 Main St.
Director of Administration Dylan Zelazo said in a statement prior to the meeting that the parties had reached an agreement in principle to settle most ongoing litigation and finalize the sale of the properties.
The settlement is consistent with the resolution passed by the council last year, he said. The bond anticipation note is envisioned long-term to be refinanced using the Super TIF tool so as not to cost existing taxpayers. Additionally, the parties have agreed to lease-back provisions which would allow for the tire and service center and the tenant businesses in the large building to transition their operations from the properties over a reasonable period of time.
“The city is extremely happy that the mediation process, led by retired Chief Justice Frank Williams, has led to this point,” he said.
Bill Fischer, spokesman for Apex, issued the following statement prior to Tuesday night’s meetings:
“The city of Pawtucket and Apex Development have been in extensive and productive mediation discussions these past few months. We are hopeful that a settlement will be ratified by the Pawtucket City Council and Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency Tuesday night,” he said.
The resolution on the docket Tuesday called for the Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency to issue taxable lease revenue bond anticipation notes for the purchase and then to lease the property to the city. The city would then sublease certain portions of the property on a short-term basis to the Apex Companies or their tenants pending relocation, according to PRA Executive Director Jay Rosa.
The acquisition of Apex has long been a point of contention in Pawtucket, and the difficulty of acquiring it proved to be one of the key obstacles in getting a deal done to build a new stadium for the Pawtucket Red Sox at the site.
The long-running standoff between the city and Gates over the acquisition and redevelopment of his property came to a head when the Apex Companies filed suit over numerous accusations, which led to the matter going into mediation talks meant to settle the city’s acquisition.
There are a number of options going forward for the Apex property, located off I-95 between City Hall and the Tidewater Landing soccer stadium project. City officials have long planned to issue a request for proposals similar to the one for McCoy Stadium and the riverfront that landed them the stadium project. A frequently stated goal is that the Apex property will tie in with public amenities along the riverfront, including a planned pedestrian bridge crossing to the stadium site.