Representatives with Pace Properties updated the Richmond Heights City Council on Monday about the status of its discussions with Hadley Township property owners. The company is planning a $125 million retail development just south of The Heights community center.
"You have some tremendous residents in that area," said Rick Randall, senior vice president of Pace. "They really are some awesome people, and they've got some big decisions to make, and I appreciate the fact that some of them are taking longer than I had hoped."
Randall said there are 68 properties in the area that his company has been working with. While the company does not have signed contracts for commercial properties, "we basically have come to an agreement in principle with each of those commercial owners," Randall said. A few of those properties are particularly complicated, and one of them involves a relocation. The company is working to get contracts for those properties.
As for the residential properties: "It's been a little tougher" than I had anticipated, Randall said. He said he and others met with Hadley residents at The Heights a couple of weeks ago and he thought that the meeting was productive.
A majority of residential-property owners have signed contracts, Randall said, and he continues to speak with those who have not. He's encouraging property owners to visit him at his office, at a Hanley Road office set up for development talks or at their homes.
"It's become a process, and we're committed to that process," Randall said. He said Pace hopes to sit down with the council and discuss a preliminary funding agreement by mid-September.
District 3 Councilman Ed Notter said it's his understanding neither the city nor the developer intend to pursue eminent domain. He asked whether that issue has arisen in talks with property owners.
Randall said the issue has been brought up. But he said change is happening as time goes on.
"The family units are coming together, discussing it and some decisions are being made by larger family groups at this time," Randall said. "Also, I think that as the project becomes closer and closer that people will defer to the greater good. But we'll have to get over the hill in every case or we won't be able to move forward."
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