Saturday, September 29, 2007

Tunnel Talks

City continues talks over hotel walkway

"Negotiations regarding the construction of a new downtown walkway exceeded an established 60-day deadline, but city officials said the Harrison Square project is not in danger.

Steve Brody, project manager for the city, has been leading the negotiations for the walkway. He said the talks are progressing well, but they have just taken longer than expected.

The hotel developers, White Lodging Services and Acquest Realty, have agreed to extend the deadline, Brody said."

"While the hotel is to be across Jefferson Boulevard from the convention center, there aren’t plans for a direct walkway into Grand Wayne. Instead, the city has worked with Embassy Theatre to build a walkway from the hotel across Harrison Street into the Embassy building.

People using that walkway could then use the existing bridge from the Embassy to the convention center."

"Greg Leatherman, deputy director of development for the city, said an early design of the walkway from the hotel was deemed too expensive. While not offering specifics, Leatherman said the group had come to a “better number” for the project after narrowing the size of the walkway across Harrison.

The city originally estimated the walkway would cost $900,000.

By making the walkway smaller, the Embassy could still use part of the third floor – where the walkway will enter – for storage, Leatherman said. Updike said the smaller walkway would give the Embassy more flexibility for any potential future use.

The size of the walkway was fine with the hotel developers, Leatherman said, because they would still be able to tout the covered access from the hotel to the convention center."