Riverfront Project A Blank Slate
Now revealed as the RiverGrand Project, a concept led by
"The thought in my mind is to create an opportunity, or stage if you will, where others can come and perform," Faust said. "Once the opportunity has been constructed, which is really just the land itself … it becomes an attractive opportunity that developers would love to be involved with."
These may be national developers that specialize in entertainment, residential and housing infrastructure, retail or hotels. Likely tenants would include Fortune 500 companies, national chains and entertainment conglomerates. Faust said technology companies have expressed a particular interest in the area.
"It's easy to sell
He cited the billion dollars worth of construction over the past decade in the downtown area, the arena and convention center, as well as the growing life sciences assets on
Faust, who was first introduced to the area by
"We saw a lot of infrastructure already on the water and thought it would be nice to extend that south," he said. "Essentially, we put together a strategy and set out on a land assemblage."
Faust is far from the first entrepreneur with plans for the 16 acres of city-owned land at
A 22-page prospectus written in 2005 detailed a 41-acre block with 1,500 new residential units, one million square feet of retail and a 2,500-seat theater, among other entertainment venues. The boundaries of this development would include nearly all property from U.S. 131 south to
While Faust said this plan reflects his intentions, everything is dependent upon the partners he enlists.
"When you talk about the actual details of who is going to occupy these, we're leaving it open for other people to get involved," he said. "We want to create a general venue and then others come in with the detail."
He explained that the secrecy behind the project was not by any malicious design, but deemed necessary until the development partners and subsequent financing were in place. Local residents will also have a chance to express their views, he said.
Several insiders were surprised to learn that Faust — with no development experience — was the driving force behind the project, when he was exposed by media reports last week (see related story).