to purchase 30 acres for $1.65M
By Kevin Kelley
Published March 11, 2009
city has reached an agreement to purchase nearly 30 acres of land
on Center Ridge Road just west of Westlake Porter Public Library.
The purchase price is $1.65 million.
The land is currently owned by Kmart Corporation,
a subsidiary of Sears Holdings. As West Life reported three weeks
ago, Indianapolis-based developer Flaherty & Collins had planned
to build a 240-unit apartment complex on the land. The developer
had an option to purchase the land. However, the national credit
crunch prevented Flaherty & Collins from obtaining financing
to begin construction, according to Jim Crossin, the company’s vice
president of development.
Crossin recently told West Life that his company still
wanted to build the complex, which was to be known as The Residence
The city’s purchase of the property does not represent
any attempt by city officials to revive Flaherty & Collins’
stalled apartment development plan, according to Westlake Economic
Development Director Bob Parry.
Mayor Dennis Clough told West Life that it’s too soon
to tell exactly what the land will be used for. An ordinance allowing
the purchase, which was unanimously passed by City Council after
just one reading at its Thursday regular meeting, states that “there
exists a public need for the purchase of said property for future
public works purposes.”
However, Clough and other city officials have repeatedly
stated in recent years that a need for more recreational space —
specifically soccer fields and baseball and softball diamonds —
exists in the city. The mayor had previously said that Westlake
has no need for additional municipal buildings.
“We have looked for recreational land to put in soccer
fields and baseball fields,” Clough said after the Thursday council
In 2007, the city spent months negotiating with the
Westlake Board of Elections to purchase 42 acres of undeveloped
land on Bradley Road. The city wanted to use that land for recreational
purposes. The school board twice rejected a city offer of $1.9 million
for the land.
Clough, who said he began negotiating to buy the land
about a month ago, said it’s a good deal for the city.
“Cash is an asset,” he said. “So is land.”
One million dollars of the money needed to purchase
the Center Ridge Road property will come from the city’s cable television
fees fund. The other $650,000 will come from the city’s recreation
impact fees fund. Clough noted that both funds have traditionally
been used to pay for recreation-type expenditures.
Kmart had plans in the late 1990s to build a large
Super Kmart on the site. Those plans faced stiff opposition from
angry area residents who held numerous community meetings to fight
the big box store. The city eventually won a lengthy legal battle
to stop the store from being built.
In November 2005, Westlake voters passed a referendum
to rezone the property from retail to residential. The measure passed
57 to 43 percent, or 5,579 votes to 4,237. The rezoning had been
recommended by the city’s planning commission in February 2004 and
was backed by the administration.
The land is designated as R-MF-24, which allows townhouses,
cluster homes, garden-style apartments or condominiums of no more
than three floors, two-family and single family homes.
Council President Michael Killeen said it is a prudent
move by the city to acquire the property, which he said was purchased
by Kmart nearly 20 years ago for $4.5 million.
On the Web: