Council rings the bell for Plains Furniture redevelopment proposals round two

The former Plains Furniture building sits empty on Tuesday, Aug. 29, in Casper. The former furniture store is made up of at least two heavily modified buildings dating from the early twentieth century. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

The Casper City Council rejected the proposals the City received to redevelop the Plains Furniture block of properties during Tuesday’s council meeting. Council then proceeded to reopen its request for proposals to redevelop the properties.

This round of the request for proposals includes language that gives Council some flexibility to select applications that are under the city’s appraised values of the properties. The window to apply will remain open for 60 days from Tuesday.

“The City Council will determine which proposal(s), if any, meet the purposes and goals of this RFP and the community’s needs,” reads new language in the City’s request for proposals. “Fair market value amounts, given the purposes and constraints included in this RFP, will be utilized in deciding upon acceptance of one or more proposals.”

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The previous round of the request for proposals faltered because the applications to redevelop the properties were for under the City’s appraised values of the properties. City Attorney John Henley advised Council that the previous language of the request for proposals required that applications meet or exceed the appraised values.

Henley told Oil City that this round of proposals will still use the previous appraisals in considering applications.

Community Development Director Liz Becher said the appraised value of the properties were as follows:

  • Plains lot 1: $370,000
  • Plains lot 2: $240,000 
  • Plains lot 3: $235,000
  • Livery stable: $300,000
  • Parking lot: $275,000

During the previous round, two developers submitted applications. Ashby Contruction, LLC’s proposal was to purchase the former livery stable property for $250,000 and the former Plains Furniture parking lot for $278,000.

Their plan for the livery stable property was for two separate two unit commercial buildings, according to their proposal. Their plan for the Plains Furniture parking lot was to build eight new townhouses.

FLAG Development’s proposal was to create “up to (11) market-rate loft townhouses within the existing Plains Furniture property.” They would also convert the South parking lot into seven “three-story market-rate rowhouses.”

Their application said the old Nolan Service Building would be converted into office space. A courtyard would also be put in place on the North lot. They planned to use the former livery stable property as a parking lot. Their bid to purchase all of the properties included in the request for proposal totaled $1 million.

Spokesman for both Ashby Construction and FLAG Development told Oil City they hadn’t decided whether and how they would resubmit to the new round of requests for proposals.

Councilman Steve Freel abstained from the vote due to a conflict of interest. He said he had a client interested in the properties.