A change to the lease agreement for the former Kmart parking lot is being considered.
The Rochester City Council will be asked Monday to approve extending deadlines for landscaping and demolition by a year.
“As long as it doesn’t affect the overall timeline, like when they expect to be done and moving forward with development, I think we are OK with that,” Slatterly Park Neighborhood Association President Caitlin Doran said Thursday of the proposed lease changes.
The lease is a 2020 agreement between property owner Camegaren LLC, leasee Mayo Clinic and the city to allow clinic commuter parking at the site while plans for development are being made.
Doran said she and other neighborhood representatives were informed of the proposed lease changes during discussions of a small-area plan that is making its way to the City Council review later this month.
Not everyone is happy with the idea of offering Camegaran more time to meet its initial goals.
“I don’t think an extension of these deadlines is appropriate,” said Doris Amundsen, an outspoken opponent of using the site for commuter parking.
She said she was unaware of the proposed change to plans.
While acknowledging Camegaran’s need for time to produce development plans and financing, Amundsen said the site’s current use has increased traffic in front of her Sixth Street Southeast home and affected the rest of the neighborhood.
“In the meantime, the neighborhood suffers from an unsightly park and ride, which could be and should be outside the city limits,” she said.
The proposed lease change would give Camegaren until Sept. 30 to complete planned landscaping and the creation of a small park at the intersection of Third Avenue Southeast and Ninth Street, both of which were expected to be completed last year.
“We’re hoping now that it’s spring, they can get some planting done,” Doran said, adding that she understands how the pandemic led to some delays, which could make way for further neighborhood input into plans.
The proposed lease change would also give the developer the rest of year to secure approvals for the demolition of the former Kmart building, which had been expected to be finalized by the end of 2020.
A report to the city council from Deputy City Administrator Aaron Parrish states Camegaran would still face a Dec. 31, 2022, demolition deadline if it opts to increase parking at the site beyond the current 729 spaces.
In exchange for the deadline extensions, the proposed lease calls for Mayo Clinic to pay all property taxes on the site. The original lease called for taxes to be paid based on the number of stalls available for use.
The existing lease calls for $4,000 monthly payments to the city for missed deadlines.
The city council will be asked to approve the changes during its 6 p.m. meeting Monday, which will livestream at www.rochestermn.gov/agendas and be available on Spectrum cable channel 180 or 188 and Metronet channel 80.
Details for providing comments before or during the meeting’s open-comment period are available on the meeting agenda posted at www.rochestermn.gov/agendas.