GARY — The city's Redevelopment Commission plans to acquire about 3,500 parcels of tax-delinquent property this year with money provided by a private redevelopment partner.
The commission late Wednesday afternoon approved MaiaCo LLC's annual plan that includes details about the development partner's plan for the coming year.
The Redevelopment Commission on July 29 entered into a public-private partnership with MaiaCo LLC., in which the company will provide cash and other resources to help the commission acquire and redevelop large sections of the city.
According to the strategic plan approved by the commission, MaiaCo intends to invest $2.85 million this year. Of that amount, about $2 million is expected to go toward funding the Redevelopment Commission's acquisition of 3,500 tax-delinquent parcels in the city. Joseph Van Dyk, Gary's planning and redevelopment director, expressed confidence Wednesday in the commission acquiring the properties this year.
MaiaCo has hired two Gary residents to serve as community liaisons. One is Ben Robinson, a former city building commissioner, and the other Taylr Davis, worked as a city intern. The company also has established a website at maiaco.com where it will post project updates, according to Michael W. Reinhold, a partner with the company who appeared at Wednesday's meeting.
The properties the commission is acquiring are those that passed through the county's tax sale in November. While money from MaiaCo will be used in acquiring the land, the commission will determine what property to acquire and be the owners of the land. MaiaCo will be reimbursed only after the property is sold, or leased, to an outside entity.
"MaiaCo does not own any land, is not acquiring any land and does not decide what happens with any land," Reinhold told commissioners.
Both Reinhold and Van Dyk said there also may be cases there the land acquired may be used for other purposes than for development, such as for a park or for green infrastructure. In that case, they said, MaiaCo will not receive reimbursement.
The commission is looking at three primary locations for the acquisitions, according to Van Dyk. They include the Broadway corridor between Interstate 80/94 and Interstate 90, several blocks south of I-80/94 between Chase and Burr streets, and the Aetna neighborhood north of I-90 and south of the abandoned railroad tracks between Lake Street and the I-90 interchange.
In addition to the money being used for property acquisition, MaiaCo will be investing $500,000 to support redevelopment, including recruiting partners to assist in creating the citywide, land-use plan and updating the city's zoning codes. Another $350,000 is slated for general and administrative support, which could include gathering and analyzing data to help in the commission's decision making.
In addition, MaiaCo has established a Maia Community Foundation, a nonprofit sister organization to help residents prepare for opportunities that may become available, which could include helping when it comes to access to job training, child care or access to transportation.
Reinhold said he Greg Goldner and B.R. Lane are the primary investors in the project. Goldner is the founder and chief executive officer of Resolute Consulting, of Chicago, and Lane, a former chief of staff for the city and interim director of the Gary/Chicago International Airport, is now an executive vice president with Resolute.
The three other shareholders listed are also employed by Resolute, which has done public relations work for the airport authority. Reinhold, who said MaiaCo will be seeking additional investors as well, did not see a conflict of interest when it came to Resolute.