Ground design

Portsmouth’s McIntyre project developers run out of patience

PORTSMOUTH – The city’s private partners in the Thomas J. McIntyre federal building redevelopment say their patience with the city is “running out”.

“In April 2020, we agreed to put our litigation on hold. In view of our investment so far, which the City of Portsmouth has encouraged and encouraged us to make, we believe we have shown considerable patience and good faith, ”said Michael Kane, President and Chief Executive Officer. The management of The Kane Company, and Ralph Cox, the director of Redgate, said Thursday in an email to Councilor Peter Whelan. “Having said that, our patience is running out.”

Whelan chairs the McIntyre subcommittee.

Michael Kane, left, and Ralph Cox

In a pointed email that was sent to all committee members as well as city attorney Robert Sullivan and city manager Karen Conard, Kane and Cox said they “waited for the missed deadline. after the deadline missed by your committee to get there “.

“Market town”: Portsmouth unveils market pavilion design for McIntyre redevelopment

“Five weeks ago, after being lectured by Councilor Tabor to make sure we didn’t ‘drag our analysis’ of this plan, you told us that ‘in the next two or three weeks’ you were going to visit the National Park Service to get an initial reaction to the new design that you and the Principle Group have developed, ”Kane and Cox said in the email. “In the next five weeks (until yesterday), we never received any form of update or communication.”

A previous city council voted to approve Redgate-Kane’s proposed redevelopment plan, which included renovating the existing McIntyre building for offices and adding two new mixed-use residential buildings to the 2.1-acre site.

After:Portsmouth to present new McIntyre plan to National Park Service, developer “frustrated”

The current city council has rejected a land lease plan with Redgate-Kane, which led the developers to take legal action against the city in March 2020. That action was ultimately suspended, but not abandoned, in April 2020.

The city council in May voted to go ahead with a plan developed by Principle Group, the city’s consultants on the project.

A design overview of the McIntyre Federal Building redevelopment produced by a company hired by Portsmouth using input from residents.

The market shed or pavilion approach chosen as the preferred design plan by city council is proposed as a glass covered outdoor space that would lead from the Penhallow Street side of the Federal Building up to a grand staircase. The city plan also calls for the addition of two new buildings to the site.

Kane and Cox also objected to a comment Whelan made to the Portsmouth Herald, in which he said that “the big difference now is that this is a community-driven Portsmouth plan versus a plan developer-oriented “.

“We are offended by this false description, as are the hundreds of Portsmouth residents who participated in our thousands of hours of community involvement which led to the design which was approved by the City of Portsmouth and is the subject of of our still binding development agreement with City, ”said Kane and Cox.

The city has been trying for years to gain control of the ownership of the federal building from the Federal General Service Administration, which owns it.

More recently, the city has made efforts to acquire the property for free as part of the Historic Monuments Program, administered by the National Park Service.

Whelan said this week that the city plans to meet with NPS officials on July 28 or during the week to get their first comments on the city’s new McIntyre redevelopment plan.

Kane and Cox reminded city officials in Thursday’s email that they had agreed to stay the trial in part so the city could “come up with revisions to the existing design that the city had already taken.” engaged ”.

“Instead, you proceeded without any consultation or communication with us to design a whole new project. Your unilateral departure from our stay agreement was also unprofessional, ”they said in the email. “However, for the greater good, we will continue to wait for comments from the NPS before dealing with the issues that accompany your departure from our agreement.”

If the city receives preliminary approval for the redesign, you “will need to give us the opportunity to do our assessment and economic analysis to determine if your new design is feasible,” said Kane and Cox.

“We will then have to agree on a way forward, including negotiating an amended development agreement and a land lease, before the city can submit a formal request for NPS approval,” they said. they added.

City councilor and subcommittee member Paige Trace championed Whelan’s work as president, saying he had “done an amazing job with this project, and I think he did all he could. to be absolutely as transparent as possible “.

“While I am concerned about the letter from our partners, I believe that obviously the letter stems from the frustration on their part,” Trace said Thursday evening.

She added that Redgate-Kane “really believes that the original project is more to their advantage.”

“I am totally surprised and 100% saddened by the attitude of Mr. Kane and Mr. Cox towards the chairman of the subcommittee,” she added.

She stressed the need to move the process forward and hopes that “the NPS will agree that this project is pure genius and that it will work for both us and our partners.”

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