The City of Delta has engaged the services of Better City to move the city forward on the gateway project. A name-brand hotel near the Gunnison River is the centerpiece of the effort.
Better City was the consultant that conducted an economic assessment of Delta County in 2014-2015 to identify economic development opportunities that would put Delta County on the path toward prosperity in the wake of coal mine closures. The gateway project emerged as a major focus.
The hotel is expected to reduce "leakage" to Montrose and Grand Junction, while serving as a base camp for visitors exploring outdoor attractions and sampling food, beer and wine in the area.
In August, the city received additional grant funds to move forward with the gateway project, one of the top projects identified in Better City's feasibility study. The city's share of expenses will be $2,250.
For a total fee of $22,500, Better City will:
• Continue to work with a hotel developer, Delta Urban Renewal Authority and landowner on pre-development efforts for the hotel at the riverfront gateway site;
• Work with property owners, developers and DURA to secure control of the project site for other future development;
• Update financial projections as project assumptions are defined;
• Continue to assist in preparing proposals and presentations to taxing entities regarding public participation;
• Identify additional uses that will complement hotel development and begin recruiting relevant developers once hotel project is secured.
• Update grant funding schedule for riverfront improvements and coordinate with DURA and the City of Delta on funding strategies for grant applications.
The nine-month contract amounts to $2,500 per month. "A lot of what you're paying for is Better City's background and understanding of this project," city manager David Torgler commented at the Dec. 19 city council meeting.
In describing its scope of work, Better City reported it was previously able to secure a letter of interest from a reputable hotel developer to construct an $8 million riverfront hotel.
Use of the singular "developer" in the proposed scope of work prompted comments from council member Gerald Roberts during consideration of the professional services agreement. He wanted assurance Better City would seek proposals from multiple developers. "We shouldn't be dealing with a developer; we should have an open market," he said.
"And we will have," Torgler said. "At some point it will work its way down to a single hotel developer, but that will be after proposals are received and reviewed by the DURA board."
A motion to approve the Better City agreement was made by council member Christopher Ryan and seconded by Roberts, but only to move the question to a vote in the absence of two of the five council members. In the final vote, he cast a nay vote while Ryan and Ron Austin, sitting in as mayor pro-tem, voted in favor of the agreement.
Throughout the fall, Better City has been updating anticipated tax incentive revenues, which in turn affect the amount of bonding DURA will be able to obtain for the gateway project. For that reason, the contract is dated from Oct. 17, 2017, until July 17, 2018.
The exact amount of tax incentive financing available for bond repayments will not be known until mediation with the Delta County Fire District and Delta County Mosquito Control District has taken place. Both taxing entities declined to share tax increments with DURA. All three entities are attempting to come to agreement on the mediator to be used in the discussion.