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updated: 5/16/2018 6:21 PM

Changes in 1 N. Washington Place project in Batavia get preliminary approval

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  • The former First Baptist Church of Batavia was demolished to make way for One North Washington Place.

      The former First Baptist Church of Batavia was demolished to make way for One North Washington Place.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer, 2017

 
 

A revised plan for the controversial One North Washington Place development in downtown Batavia squeaked by a city council committee Tuesday.

It passed by just one vote, and with one alderman absent -- Tony Malay, who voted in December against a revised development agreement between the city and developer Shodeen Inc.

Formal approval of the changes, which call for replacing stores on the first floor with apartments, reconfiguring parking garage spaces and heating the garage, require a binding vote at a city council meeting. That could come as early as June 4, according to city planners.

Aldermen Scott Salvati, Martin Callahan, Elliot Meitzler, Mark Uher, Nicholas Cerone and Michael Russotto voted against the change Tuesday. They, too, voted against the revised development agreement in December.

The proposed design changes also reduce the number of parking spaces in the building's garage, which will be open to the public.

Aldermen also indicated in their vote that they want Shodeen to pay for building, operating and maintaining a heating system and doors Shodeen has requested for the parking garage. The space needs heat only because there will be residences above it, and because plumbing will run through the garage. Heating will prevent the pipes from freezing.

The developer is building the garage, but the city will own it. It will replace the current city garage at River and State streets.

Public works director Gary Holm said the city estimates it could cost $200,000 to $700,000 to put in the equipment to heat the garage, and $20,000 to $25,000 a year to heat it and maintain the doors.

That does not include costs of personnel responding to calls when the doors don't work, or of emergency repairs. He estimated the doors may be opened and closed at least 275 times a day.

The costs could be offset by sales of permits for overnight parking, at $30 a month per space to start.

City administrator Laura Newman told aldermen Tuesday there's a problem with soil on parts of the site, especially a city-owned parking lot: It has too much lead in it to be used as fill. As much as 10,000 cubic yards of it may have to be removed and disposed of under environment-protection regulations, to a special landfill.

The lead was found during tests in April.

One North Washington Place was proposed in 2016 at an estimated cost of $40 million. The building, ranging from five to six stories, will take up a good deal of a city block, from Wilson north to State and Washington west to River.

The city is essentially giving the project $1.5 million worth of land, and fronting $16 million toward the construction cost, now estimated at $48 million. Shodeen made a mistake calculating the cost of building a partially underground parking garage.

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