Efforts to launch a $58 million redevelopment of the 9-acre Truman Hotel site in the 1500 block of Jefferson Street will return to a city agenda when a new proposal is presented at the Feb. 9 meeting of the Jefferson City Planning and Zoning Commission.
If approved by the commission and by the City Council at its Feb. 20 meeting, construction of a new hotel will begin within 90 days.
The Jefferson City Housing Authority has approved a request by Vivek Puri on behalf of the Puri Group of Enterprises (PGE), declaring the Truman Hotel blighted; has adopted a Truman Urban Renewal Plan; and recommends the City Council immediately adopt those two positions.
City counselor Ryan Moehlman confirmed Thursday he was preparing the language for review by the city panel at its February meeting.
His document will incorporate the Housing Authority's Resolution 4573, adopted Jan. 17. That document reflects PGE and the Housing Authority "have negotiated the terms for and intend to enter into a redevelopment contract requiring commencement of constriction of the (project) no later than 90 days following approval of the plan by the City and completion of construction within 18 months of commencement of construction."
PGE won the Housing Authority's blessing with the presentation of a blight study report conducted by Valbridge Property Advisors.
The PGE project was stymied by a 5-5 City Council vote last September after the plan was rejected by the city's Tax Increment Financing Commission. Under state law, the Puri Group proposal required a two-thirds affirmative vote by the Council for passage. The deadlocked vote followed a four-hour meeting, which featured testimony from almost 20 interested parties.
Puri told the News Tribune on Wednesday that former Mayor George Hartsfield had approached him about working on the Puri Group's behalf without compensation to help revive public funding prospects for the redevelopment. Hartsfield has confirmed that status.
Puri said the next move was the City Council's, and he was unaware the proposal had been scheduled for the Planning and Zoning Commission's Feb. 9 session.
"The redevelopment of this property is awaiting action by the Planning and Zoning Commission and the City Council," Hartsfield told the News Tribune. "These steps are being guided by city counselor Ryan Moehlman. Notices for a public hearing will be published as required."
The Puri Group had sought an $8.89 million tax boost toward an estimated $56.8 million price tag for the overall redevelopment project.
Work crews were at the hotel this week engaged in what Puri said was cleaning, repairs and security activity. He said the hotel had been the subject of multiple vandalism incidents, break-ins and thefts in the past few weeks. He said the Puri Group intends to secure the premises until a restructured improvement project could get the City Council's green light.