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Board weighs payout: $300,000 oral deal with Cole up for vote

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The Columbus Redevelopment Commission will decide today whether to pay $300,000 to the developer of The Cole apartments for a previous agreement and more than $20,000 to the owner of Scotty’s Burger Joint for unpaid construction costs.

The commission will meet at 6 p.m. today in the City Council Chambers at Columbus City Hall, 123 Washington St.

The $300,000 to Buckingham Cos. stems from an oral agreement by some members of the previous Redevelopment Commission and documents signed in 2009 and 2011 by members of Columbus Downtown Inc., the private company that negotiated agreements, signed leases and acquired properties on behalf of the commission. The money was to pay for architectural fees and was one of several incentives to seal the deal to build the Cole complex.

Indianapolis-based Buckingham is working to finish the $18 million apartment development at 200 Jackson St., set to open early next year. The apartments wrap around the Second Street garage.

Mayor Kristen Brown and some city officials questioned the legitimacy of the $300,000 agreement and whether the current commission had an obligation to pay the money.

Negotiations between city officials and Buckingham’s lawyer regarding the unpaid amount began in October.

One possible resolution, the mayor said in October, would be for Buckingham to pay a reduced rate for the 200 parking spaces it leases in the Second Street garage so it could recoup its money over a period of time.

An item on the commission’s Monday agenda is a resolution for the “Columbus Redevelopment Commission to enter into a modified parking easement agreement with Buckingham.”

Construction of Scotty’s, near the corner of Fourth and Washington streets in the retail portion of The Commons, resulted in costs of $46,303 more than what had been negotiated with Columbus Downtown Inc. because of problems installing the ventilation system. About $22,000 remained to be reimbursed at the end of last year. However, Scotty’s owes nearly $29,000 in utility bills.

Restaurants in The Commons have had problems with how their utilities are metered, making billing a problem.

The Redevelopment Commission wants to resolve the issue because the mayor intends to shut down CDI and have the last of the leases it manages turned over to the commission so those leases are transparent to the public.

Mert Shipman, the owner of Scotty’s, has resisted turning over the lease until he is paid and the utilities issues resolved.

Another item on the commission agenda is the “Authorization for Columbus Downtown Inc. to pay Delta Construction Co. Inc. for additional expenses on Scotty’s buildout.” Shipman also owns Delta Construction, which did the work.

Another agenda item is the “Authorization for Columbus Downtown Inc. to provide Scotty’s a notice of default in its lease agreement for not paying their utility bills ($26,825.47 for electric and $1,936.97 for water & sewer).”

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