A month after a split Carmel City Council decided not to extend a $100-per-hour consulting deal for longtime Carmel Redevelopment Commission boss Les Olds, another organization is considering hiring him to keep city redevelopment projects on track.
The Carmel City Center Community Development Corp., a not-for-profit known informally as 4CDC, discussed the idea briefly at a Tuesday morning meeting and will reconvene in two weeks to decide whether to hire Olds and loan him to the CRC.
4CDC member Ron Carter, one of three city councilors who voted to renew Olds’ contract, said he proposed the loaned-executive approach because it fits the organization’s goal of supporting the Carmel community and its redevelopment commission.
“With the amount of projects we have in the pipeline, there’s no question we need someone to interface with the development community and work on making sure the interests of the CRC, the city and its taxpayers are safeguarded,” Carter told IBJ. “We are in the position to do that.”
Formed in 2009 to help the CRC complete construction of a theater/office building in the City Center complex, the three-member board also has provided financial support to Carmel’s Center for the Performing Arts and other downtown businesses.
IBJ reported in 2011 that most of its funding has come through grants from the CRC.
The CRC paid Olds $116,000 in 2012, Councilor Luci Snyder said last month, but his compensation was cut along with the agency’s budget when the city agreed to refinance $184 million in redevelopment-related debt late last year. As part of the deal, council members passed a pair of ordinances giving them control of future debt and certain expenses, including large professional services contracts.
They flexed that muscle in September, voting 4-3 against a contract extension for Olds, who charged the CRC $60,000 for six months’ of work. Mayor Jim Brainard warned that the move would shut down the redevelopment commission, which has several projects in the works.
Underground utility work began this week to prepare for Anderson Birkla’s $6 million two-building The Mezz project in City Center, for example, and a $10 million mixed-use building there called The Nash already is under construction.
Developers’ interest in Carmel has dropped since the council’s August decision, Carter said, adding that projects such as the redevelopment of a key property at Carmel Drive and Range Line Road have stalled without Olds’ leadership and expertise.
He said members of the 4CDC will review their options with the group’s legal counsel before voting on the matter Sept. 24.