Jefferson City residents will have a chance to share their thoughts on two proposals for redevelopment of the Missouri State Penitentiary site with the Jefferson City Council during a public forum Monday.
As the council approaches its July 27 deadline to select a developer for the 32 acres around the old prison, they are seeking input from the public. On May 7, the council published the two "best and final" proposals from the developers for the public to view.
The proposals come from Farmer Companies and a group made up of Chesterfield Hotels, Arcturis, Peckham Architecture and Central Missouri Professional Services.
The council has asked the community to share their thoughts on the two proposals via an online survey available on the city website until May 25 or by emailing [email protected]
On Monday, residents will have the opportunity to address the council virtually either by video chat or phone call during the public forum.
Instructions to join the meeting can be found on the city's website, including a link to the video meeting hosted through WebEx and the call-in phone number. Residents wishing to watch the public forum can watch the live video via the City of Jefferson, Missouri Facebook page.
Before the public hearing begins, the council will hear a presentation from a representative from Baker Tilly, an advisory, tax and assurance firm that does municipal economic development consulting. City Counselor Ryan Moehlman said the firm examined both proposals to give the council an independent look at the proposals.
"They took a third-party analysis of the two proposals and raised questions, pointed out features of each," Moehlman said. "But they're not making a recommendation."
Following the presentation, the council will open the meeting for public hearing on the proposals. Residents who wish to speak are encouraged to email City Clerk Emily Donaldson at [email protected] with the subject line "MSP Public Hearing," but signing up is not necessary.
Residents are encouraged to keep comments during the meeting to less than three minutes.
Mayor Carrie Tergin said she has heard from several people who have sent in feedback on the proposals so far and encourages anyone who is interested to reach out.
"I think it's a great opportunity for feedback, and knowing that this project has been so highly anticipated for many years, now that we're getting very close to making a selection and moving forward with the developer, it's desire to get it out to the public as much as possible," Tergin said.
Tergin, along with Ward 5 Councilman Mark Schreiber, Ward 4 Councilman Ron Fitzwater, Ward 2 Councilman Rick Mihalevich and former Ward 1 Councilman Rick Prather, voted in favor of the Chesterfield group proposal as part of the MSP Community Partners previously. Prather left the council in April.
"I still stand behind that decision, but knowing that we do have both developers, we want to have the opportunity to get feedback because there might be things in either of the proposals that would resonate with the public, and we would like to hear what those are," Tergin said.
Tergin encourages the public to give feedback in any combination of the opportunities they chose. Residents are not limited to only the survey, email or calling in to the council meeting Monday.
As of Friday afternoon, the council had received 1,024 responses to the online survey, which closes May 25.
Tergin anticipates the council will discuss and possibly decide on the developer at its meeting June 1.
The July deadline comes from the developer agreement made between the city and the state when the land was conveyed in 2018. The agreement allows the city to request an additional year to choose a developer, but Tergin said she does not anticipate this happening.
Once a decision is made, Tergin said, there is still an opportunity for public feedback via the email or contacting the City Council.
"Once we make a selection, there would still be several steps that would need to happen in this process to actually come to a point where an agreement is made to move everything forward with that developer," Tergin said.
The full proposals can be accessed via the city's website homepage through a quick link labeled "MSP Redevelopment."
The Chesterfield/Arcturis group proposal divides the land into eight "redevelopment project areas." Some of these would come in later phases or could be developed by other groups.
RPA 1 — the section behind the historic prison buildings near the Missouri River — would include a 150-room Tapestry by Hilton Hotel, conference center and parking garage.
RPA 2-A, next to RPA 1, would include a city-owned, two-sheet ice arena and parking garage, while RPA 2-B, just south of 2-A, would be developed by another developer into a mixed-use and retail space with an expo center expansion in phase two.
RPA's 3-A and 3-B — on the far east side of the property and also partially along the river — would be developed by others, with proposed uses being a museum, mixed use/commercial space and a train station.
RPA's 4-A and 4-B — located around the existing MSP buildings and up to East Capitol Avenue — would also be developed by others. Proposed uses include residential town homes and an office building. In 4-C, the group is proposing a place-making and amphitheater space; however, RPA 4-C is not currently owned by the city.
The Farmer Companies Team proposal includes two options, with a convention center located near their new hotel on Missouri Boulevard and the development of an outdoor space at MSP.
Option A would see the MSP site developed into the Veterans Memorial Athletic Complex — five to 10 artificial turf athletic fields. The final number of fields is dependent on the availability of state-owned ground at the corner of East Capitol Avenue and Lafayette Street and the size of the fields chosen.
All of the fields would be lit; and a snack bar, picnic pavilion, walking trails, playgrounds and restrooms would be added.
The group is also proposing a built-to-suit restaurant with river views near the railroad on the north side of the property. Two parking lots would be added totaling 183 spaces.
Option A includes a 25,000-square-foot convention center next to the Courtyard by Marriott hotel the company is currently building. The center would have a prep kitchen, access for large vehicles, large exhibit access and movable walls for smaller meetings.
The convention center would include 125 parking spaces, with more nearby at the hotel.
Option B would be a larger, two-story, 50,000-square-foot convention center by the hotel. The first floor would be an expo hall for larger events, and the second floor would be a versatile convention center with the ability to accommodate smaller groups, as well as the prep kitchen.
The convention center would provide 250 parking spaces.
The MSP site would be developed into Veterans Memorial Park with a picnic pavilion and restrooms, two playgrounds, walking trails and exercise stations, as well as the built-to-suit restaurant. This option includes 116 parking spaces.
The Farmer group proposes a timeline of nine months before construction and a year for construction on both options.