Questions on the Highland Reservoir Redevelopment

The Historic Highland Water Tower included with the site specified in the Request for Redevelopment Proposals?

No.  The Historic Highland Water Tower and the 200’ x 200’ area surrounding it are not part of the redevelopment site.  The water tower will remain as property of the Board of Water Commissioners and SPRWS.

Any estimates of what demolition might cost?

A 2010 demolition of the Dale Street Reservoir cost approximately $460,000.  The Dale Street Reservoir was larger than the Highland Reservoir, but the Highland Reservoir includes more reinforcement.  Demolition costs may prove to be considerably different than those of the Dale Street Reservoir.  The preceding figure is provided simply as a historical example of a project with some similarities.

Does the Board have a certain value attached to the property?

No.  The Board has not set any financial value on the property.  Financial implications of the proposed development will be considered according to the evaluation method described in the Request for Redevelopment Proposals.

Is the reservoir waterproofed?

The reservoir does not appear to be waterproofed on the interior.  It is unknown if exterior waterproofing is present.  The berms surrounding the structure provide a steep slope that helps the reservoir easily shed rain water.

Describe the structural integrity of the reservoir:

At this point, a structural engineer has not examined the reservoir to give a professional engineering opinion.  A simple visual inspection of the reservoir shows some concrete crumbling at the joint between the walls and the roof.  Otherwise, the structure appears to be in fairly good condition.  Overall, nothing in the structure clearly precludes it from development, but professional engineering opinions may be required for certain types of development.

Regarding the amended schedule, what are the potential open house dates?

The board has briefly discussed the possibility of asking developers to present their proposals to the community in the form of an open house. No decision has been made with regard to whether the board will pursue such an open house. Further board discussion will be needed in order to determine whether or not the dates indicated on the amended schedule will be utilized for a community open house. Developers would be alerted in advance if anything will be expected of them on those dates.

Is there a preferred means of accessing the site for development purposes?  Where should site ingress and egress be planned?

When considering potential access to the site, developers should note that the board has not made any preference clear. Developers are welcome to propose their preferred arrangement for the site at this point.

Will offer estimates on the property be kept private?

In the Redevelopment Guidance document, we encouraged developers to consider a purchase or lease price in which they might be interested. After discussion with some interested parties, SPRWS has noted that developers would prefer for these figures to remain private. As such, we do not feel that they should be provided to the Board before the October meeting. If any financial figures are included in a statement on potential ownership structures, the numbers will be omitted before the document is passed on to the Board. If a developer would like to waive their right to confidentiality and allow the Board to openly discuss a potential purchase/lease price, the developer may contact me, and we will attempt to work through the details.

Will purchase requests be considered?

Yes. The Board has not discarded requests to purchase the property at this point. The Board has expressed a leaning towards leasing the property however, and developers are encouraged to examine whether or not a lease agreement might be possible. Where a lease is not possible or practical for the potential developer, some sort of alternative, unique ownership structure might be desirable. The Board’s stance regarding leasing vs. selling the property should be clarified to some degree at the October 10 Board meeting.

What might a unique ownership structure entail?

Developers who need to purchase the property may wish to consider an alternative ownership structure. This might include purchasing the land on which structures will be built but leasing space that would be devoted to parking lots or providing easements on such space. Such proposals may prove more appealing to the board than proposals to purchase the entire property outright.

How long did demolition of the Dale Street Reservoir take?

We have been unable to locate records that indicate the precise start/end date of the Dale Street Reservoir demolition. Our records appear to indicate that demolition equipment was on site for nearly seven months. While that demolition took approximately seven months to complete, the process was lengthened considerably by permitting delays. Additionally, the bulk of the work was completed more quickly than the seven month demolition schedule for the project might suggest. The demolition of the Highland Reservoir might reasonably be expected to take three to six months.

Will we have an opportunity to view the reservoir?

SPRWS has arranged opportunities for potential developers to view the reservoir on October 19 and October 20. Each potential developer should have received an email with instructions on setting up an appointment to view the reservoir from Will Menkhaus on October 4. If you have not received an email or if you have any questions regarding scheduling a tour of the reservoir, please contact Will Menkhaus at William.Menkhaus@ci.stpaul.mn.us.