City officials and Mitch Meyer, the owner of land located adjacent to the historic Hays Street Bridge, have reached a deal for a land swap.
This land deal comes amid a contentious debate between Meyer, a developer who has permission to build a five-story apartment building next to the bridge, and area residents and local preservationists, who argue the land that is located in a rapidly gentrifying area should become a park.
On Friday, Assistant City Manager Lori Houston and Meyer signed off on a term sheet that would give the the City control over 803 N. Cherry and 815 N. Cherry (which share the same lot), while giving Meyer land at 223 S. Cherry Street. The deal stipulates that the land given to Meyer is restricted for multifamily use.
The deal must still be approved by City Council. It will go to the city’s Planning Commission on June 12 and before City Council June 13.
The newly reached deal requires the city to demolish existing buildings at 223 S. Cherry St. and to work with Meyer to retain, recycle, and reuse utilities coming into the site without impeding the demolition process.
The Hays Street Bridge Restoration Group, which is currently suing the City for its sale of the land, wants the land to become a park and educational center as the group had planned years ago and does not want Meyer to receive any compensation.
A state district court found that the City’s sale of the land to Eugene Simor, owner of nearby Alamo Beer Company who deeded it to Meyer, violated a memorandum of understanding with the group, but the group continues to seek specific action from the City.
“The developers behind the project adjacent to the Hays Street Bridge,
Eugene Simor, and Mitch Meyer are entitled to no more than what they paid the
city: zero,” a press release from the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center read.
The center is the parent organization for the preservation group. “They took a major business risk when they lobbied the City to break its agreement with the Hays Street Bridge Restoration Group and attempt to commercially develop the property instead.”