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Published: Friday, 4/8/2005

No proposals submitted to develop Maumee uptown block

Maumee's deadline passed yesterday afternoon without a single developer submitting a proposal to redevelop the vacant 200 block of Conant Street in the city's uptown area.

"I was expecting some decent ideas to come forward," Mayor Tim Wagener said. "From the developers I talked to, there was excitement about doing something uptown."

The city sent out requests for redevelopment proposals in January. Officials wanted private developers to construct a building on the site containing first- floor retail stores with housing or offices on upper floors.

More than a dozen members of the real estate community attended a meeting in February to learn more about the project. However, none of the initial interest translated into formal proposals by yesterday's 4 p.m. deadline.

John Jezak, city administrator, said he likely will contact area developers to find out why no one submitted proposals.

"I'd like to get an idea what the limiting factor is now that the private sector has taken a look and, at least for now, opted to pass," he said. "Maybe there's something off in our request for proposals or something inherent to the land or location that isn't working."

Maumee officials have been working for nearly a year to prepare the Conant site for redevelopment.

The city bought the former Hilltop Automotive station and demolished the gas station and an office building that formerly housed the Maumee Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Jezak said that administrators will find out how City Council members want to proceed.

The city has several options, including revising its request for proposals and sending it out again, selling the land, or converting the land to a parking lot or park.

"It's hard to redevelop an urban core," Mr. Jezak said. "You've got to stick with what's right and persevere."

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