“We do not have the reach that CBRE has,” Szerlag said. “We have the talent, but at a much smaller scale.”
District 6 council member Rick Williams, whose district includes Seven Islands, said he likes that the city could partner with a large company but that he hopes CBRE concentrates on using local contractors and businesses for development. McShea said the company often weighs local businesses more heavily than others.
McShea said the project was complicated and could likely take a year to get a developer on board.
He’s hoping that if the council approves a contract with CBRE in the coming weeks that the timeline would be as follows: CBRE would put together marketing materials over the next couple months, put out a request for development proposals after the holidays, give developers 60-120 days to submit their responses, evaluate the proposals in the spring, make a short list of developers and make a selection in the summer, and award a contract to a developer sometime in the fall of 2019.
Through that process, the city would pay CBRE $7,500 a month — a payment that CBRE would reimburse once a development contract is in place.
“I think it’s a win-win situation for both of us,” District 1 council member John Gunter said of the reimbursement plan.
At least a dozen residents previously told the council they were concerned about how an eight-story development would affect the area’s environment and aesthetics, among other complaints.
Szerlag said the city recently hired a firm to conduct geotechnical studies that would show what weight the islands can handle and how high up developers could build.
McShea said developers interested in the land would do their own due diligence in assessing it, adding that there would be “several specialized studies along the way before shovels in the ground.”
Williams voted against the development plan in 2016, saying he’d favor a less intense plan, like one capped at four stories instead of eight. But he said he’s excited the city is moving along with developing the land.
“It’s exciting that something is coming along here,” Williams said. “I was curious how we were actually going to move forward with this.”
Connect with this reporter on Twitter and Facebook or at firstname.lastname@example.org.