URA approves plan for Saks property
The Urban Redevelopment Authority approved a plan Thursday to build a 600-space parking garage with street-level retail space on the land where the former Saks department store stands.
The first phase involves demolition of the Saks building at the corner of Smithfield Street and Oliver Avenue and building 25,000 square feet of retail space at street level with the garage on top of it.
Demolition will begin in January, with the garage and retail space completed in 2015, said Brian Walker, CFO of Millcraft Industries Inc., one of two companies partnering with the URA for the $35.3 million project.
“We're trying to create a really awesome mix of tenants,” Walker said. “We're definitely excited by the project. It makes sense for us.”
Walker said they had a letter of intent for one tenant who plans to use 10,000 square feet of the space, but he declined to identify the business.
The structure will be fortified to allow for additional stories to be added. Walker said that could include residential or commercial space. The current plans call for the structure to reach about six stories, nearly the same height as nearby Piatt Place.
URA spokeswoman Gigi Saladna said the resolution passed unanimously.
Millcraft is partnering with McKnight Realty Partners and the URA on the project. The URA will own a portion of the project because the agency is contributing the land. The URA acquired the property for $4 million after Saks closed its store there in March 2012.
The authority will seek to dedicate 75 percent of the parking taxes paid in the garage for 20 years to help pay for the project. That is expected to generate about $6 million, Walker said.
Bobby Kerlik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.