Bellevue's quest for new development advanced Monday night when the City Council approved a plan to build a hotel, retail space and restaurants at the corner of Fort Crook and Cornhusker Roads.
The potential development targets an area that has long been a problem for the city.
“This is an important economic engine for the Fort Crook corridor, something that Bellevue desperately needs,” Councilwoman Carol Blood said.
The city owns 33 acres of the former Wilson Concrete plant property and has struggled to find a use for the land, which it bought in 2006.
But this proposal, from Lockwood Development, comes with a price tag: The city is being asked for more than $4.2 million in tax-increment financing to help with sewer and other public improvements.
That means the city would receive only a fraction of the property tax generated by the new development for up to 15 years after construction started. The area currently generates no property tax, however, because the city owns the land.
The city would receive sales tax revenue from firms in the development.
Still, Councilman Paul Cook expressed concern about the cost of the project to the city.
“The numbers are very scary to me, to be honest,” he said.
An attorney for the developer said it probably would take more than a decade to finish all the construction.
For the deal to be finalized, the council still must approve the financing and the final sale of the land. City officials said the Fort Crook area is a “key artery” and one of the city's main development efforts.
Council President Kathy Saniuk said she expects the project to be a catalyst for development elsewhere along the road.
The plan calls for the land to be divided into 12 lots as well as space for a 200-room hotel.
The project dovetails with another development effort in Bellevue: a proposed conference center, which officials hope will boost hotel occupancy. Officials say they hope to make an announcement about the conference center and an affiliated hotel soon.
Saniuk said she is most excited about the retail aspect of the Fort Crook development.
“I'd really like to be able to do more shopping in Bellevue,” she said.