Two months ago, Gossips reported that the board of HDC (Hudson Development Corporation) expected to have chosen a "preferred development partner" for the Kaz site by March. March is now as good as over, and no decision has yet been made. Yesterday, at the HDC board meeting, Sheena Salvino, HDC executive director, told the board that she and the subcommittee tasked with assessing the three proposals submitted and the developers who submitted them--Redburn Development, Kearney Realty & Development, and Bonacio Construction--now were ready to "codify the results and make a recommendation to the board in a special meeting." That special meeting was set for Wednesday, April 4, at noon.
After some discussion of the need to notice the meeting, HDC board member Duncan Calhoun asked, "Will we have this meeting and go immediately into executive session, because it's a real estate deal?" Common Council president Tom DePietro, an ex officio member of the HDC board, objected, saying the meeting should not be conducted in executive session. Seth Rapport, newly elected to the HDC board, explained, "Financial details may be mentioned," which would justify executive session. DePietro protested, "Financials are only one small piece." HDC board member Don Moore suggested the board ask its attorney for an opinion.
At the end of the meeting, when the public was invited to comment, Gossips, the only representative of the public present, asked the board if it was not possible to structure the special meeting in such a way that what the developers had proposed in response to the RFP could be shared with the public before the board started discussing the particulars that required executive session. This appeal inspired additional discussion among the members of the board, and it was finally agreed that each of the developers would be asked to prepare a one-page abstract of their proposal to be shared with the public. It was stressed that the three proposals were all conceptual and nothing in any of them was concrete. Once a developer is chosen--a choice to be made by the HDC board based on a number of different factors--the public engagement phase begins, which will determine what specific things will be included in the project and what the project will look like.
Mark your calendars. For those eager for information about this project, which will have a significant impact on the character of the city, next Wednesday, April 4, is your first chance. The meeting takes place at noon at 1 North Front Street.
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