WAVERLY — The crumbling former Red Fox Inn will get a chance at a new life as a hotel, convention center and rental apartments.
The Waverly City Council officially sold the property Monday night for $1 to 1859 Ventures on a 7-0 vote.
Council members also moved the property from one tax-increment financing district and into another, the newly created West Waverly Unified Urban Renewal Plan, which will allow for the property to be designated as “blighted” and allow for blight remediation grants.
William Werger, director of community and economic development, told the council 1859 Ventures will not be able to sell any part of the property without the city’s consent until it’s complete, and the city would have a process to take the property back if the developer isn’t moving forward.
“It tries to cover us on most angles,” he said. “It gives the developer a good incentive to proceed, but it also has some protections so that we have some ability to push the process through.”
As part of the agreement, the property will raise in assessed value from its current $1.4 million to $2.25 million by January 2022, and to $5 million by January 2023. 1859 Ventures will pay no taxes for the first two years, with reduced taxes for four years after that.
“Is this a reasonable assessed value to expect them to get to?” asked Ward 1 member Brian Birgen.
“Actually, we think it’ll be higher than that when it’s all said and done,” said City Administrator James Bronner. “When you look at similar-sized hotels that have been newly renovated, and then you break out apartment complexes, which is the back building, then you add in the potential for a restaurant of that square footage — that’s kind of how it was pieced together.”
The council had voted to allow 1859 Ventures to begin renovation and demolition work prior to Monday’s vote, and Werger said some of that work — including electrical renovations, removing furniture and installing a new roof on the back building on the property — is already underway.
Mayor Adam Hoffman noted the hotel pool was also drained.
“They want to get as much cleaned out as possible so they’re ready to go in the spring, and probably earlier than that, to work on the apartment building,” Werger said, noting 1859 Ventures hoped to be done with that building “by the end of next year.”
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