John Healy, a principal with Wolftever Development, the firm that is developing the area adjacent to Camp Jordan for a new retail complex, told the East Ridge City Council during its agenda session Thursday night that the site is virtually ready for construction to begin.
“As of this afternoon, we are on grade and the pad is ready,” Healy said. “Today we finished up. We worked late several nights because of the threat of more rain.”
Healy said he wanted to “set the record straight” concerning the work being done to raise the level of the 30-acre development site, and the 12 acres in which the new Bass Pro Shops will be built. He said there has been “rumor and speculation” regarding timetables his organization was to have met on the project.
“April 1 is the date we can first contractually deliver to Bass Pro,” he said. “That date was self imposed. We have no requirements. We are not close to any penalties or issues. We are delivering the site the earliest we can deliver it, per the contract.”
Healy said officials with Bass Pro Shops will inspect the site in the near future. The developers will continue throughout the summer to bring the remainder of the site up to grade.
Healy said that mounds of dirt inside Camp Jordan are not being moved because their engineer said it is to wet to be moved to the building site and compacted up to specifications. When the dirt becomes drier and the engineer approves it, that dirt will be hauled from the park.
Vice Mayor Marc Gravitt said that the council has fielded many questions from the public concerning the development. He said he realized there was information that Healy and Wolftever could not publicly release.
“From the date you turn over the pad (to Bass Pro) is there any speculation on when construction will begin?” Gravitt asked.
Healy said that plans are for Bass Pro Shops to open for business by April of 2016. He said it typically takes 11 months to build.
“(Bass Pro) has hired a contractor this week, we met with them Tuesday and we saw the drawings,” Healy said.
City Treasurer Thad Jablonski then elaborated on the city’s schedule for paying out the $4 million incentive package it agreed to with the developers.
A payment of $200,000 was made on Aug. 26, 2014 when the city received a letter of intent. A second payment of $800,000 was made to the developers on Oct. 14, 2014 once licenses and permits were in hand. Another $1 million was paid out on Nov. 25, 2014 once certification was made with both the City and the Industrial Development Board that the developers were not in default in terms of financing the project. Another $1 million was paid on Jan. 20, 2015 once site improvements met benchmarks. A final payment of $1 million will be paid when Bass Pro Shops accepts the finished pad from the Wolftever group.
“As we said four years ago, we’re committed to do a first class project that East Ridge can be proud of,” Healy said.