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Developers agree to pay for some downtown utility improvements

Monday, March 10, 2014 | 9:42 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Three developers have agreed to pay for improvements to downtown Columbia's utility infrastructure, but the scope of the improvements is still uncertain.

City staff was still finalizing the agreements with the three developers — Collegiate Housing Partners, American Campus Communities and OPUS Group — after business hours Monday in a rush to prepare the necessary documents for a special Wednesday meeting of the Columbia City Council.

The council is expected to give the agreement a first reading Wednesday and then vote on it at a later meeting.

Under the agreement, each developer would only chip in for work on the utilities their project needs, Assistant City Manager Tony St. Romaine said

All three developers will help fund sewer improvements. ACC and OPUS will likely fund improvements to the water utility, and ACC would also be on the hook for improvements to the electric grid.

The city's situation report, prepared for the March 3 pre-council meeting, had indicated a lack of electric capacity for the OPUS and ACC developments. But, St. Romaine said, there will probably be enough capacity for the OPUS project because its scheduled completion in August 2015 would likely align with seven megawatts of extra capacity from the Rebel Hill substation.

The ACC project could be given a tentative green light, St. Romaine said, if the council agrees to put a $10 million bond for two new electric feeder lines on the ballot in November.

City staff had floated a Tax Increment Financing District to pay for downtown's infrastructure improvements, but the council voted it down on Feb. 17.

The agenda for the council meeting had not been posted as of 9 p.m. Monday. The meeting will take place at noon Wednesday in the City Council chambers at Daniel Boone City Building.

Supervising editor is Adam Aton.


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