Staff will review the proposals before moving on to the next step, which could be applicant interviews or a recommendation to the council

The city of Newberg has received two proposals to redevelop the vacant parcel of land across First Street from city hall known as the Butler Property.

Community Development Director Doug Rux said because this is a real estate acquisition discussion, everything will remain confidential at this point.

"Yes, we received proposals," Rux said. "Staff will review the proposals. Once we've completed our review, then we have options outlined in Request for Interest of Expression (RIOE). We could do interviews or we could take our recommendation directly to the City Council in executive session. I'm not sure which path will go down, it is yet to be determined."

City Manager Joe Hannan, in notes he supplied to the council, indicated recently that city staff was reviewing the two proposals.

The 10,300-square-foot piece of land has been vacant for decades since the former tenant, Butler Chevrolet, closed and the site was purchased by the city. The city promptly received a federal grant to clean up the property as it was discovered to be contaminated with all manner of petroleum products disposed of there by the car dealership as well as other tenants over the course of many years.

The city released a new REOI form earlier this year after an initial developer backed out. The city sought an REOI in summer 2018 and after meeting with that particular developer, the developer chose not to continue with plans.

The property is zoned C-3, which is a mixed use zone that allows for a number of commercial and residential uses "with an emphasis on creating a dense and urban development form," according to the latest version of the REOI. The document states zoning standards are "quite lenient" with "no setbacks, height limits, floor area ratio (FAR) limits, low parking requirements or residential uses, and a wide range of allowed uses."

The city wasn't looking for a fully detailed proposal in the latest REOI, but also wouldn't reject specific proposals. The REOI stated the city was open to a broad range of ideas to bring more people downtown, such as "multi-story mixed use development featuring several floors of housing over ground floor retail." The city is also open to several options for the land, including outright purchase, land sale contract, ground lease and a lease with an option to purchase.

"This offering is intended to be flexible," it states.

Responses were due by March 1 to the city. The city already hosted a pre-submittal meeting on Jan. 30 at city hall for a tour of the property, and staff provided a project overview, discussed goals and expectations and potential partnership agreements.

"The city is open to submissions which do not identify a particular user or type of use, but merely set forth a broad set of intentions on the part of the developer, particularly if that developer can demonstrate a proven track record in other projects," the document states. "Restaurants, brew pubs or similar uses which provide evening activity downtown are highly desirable, as is new residential development."

Following the deadline for submissions, the city will conduct a preliminary evaluation of submissions this week and April 15 is listed as the tentative date for preliminary selection of a developer.

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