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Apartments Rejected for Bellevue Riverfront

There will be no apartments on the Bellevue riverfront.

The city council on Wednesday agreed with a decision from the planning & zoning committee and denied the Ackermann Group's request to add apartment buildings instead of condos adjacent to the condo tower at Harbor Greene.

The vote was 4-0 with members Matt Olliges and Steve Guidugli abstaining.

"I'm all in favor of apartments in the community, but not on our prime riverfront real estate," said city councilwoman Carol Rich.

The Ackermann Group has made several changes to its development plan since it first emerged more than a decade ago and blamed the recent recession and trouble in the real estate market for the most recent request. Developer Dobbs Ackerman is also facing litigation from residents of the current condo tower.

In a heated public meeting last month, residents of Harbor Greene painted apartment dwellers as transients and urged the city council to hold Ackermann to developing more owner-occupied units. Members of the city's planning & zoning committee also urged the developer to pursue condos instead of apartments when they rejected the proposal in May.

City Council could have overturned the committee's decision but opted not to do that Wednesday.

The city could face financial difficulty from the decision. While the original plan included a number of condos that would have brought in $6 million to the city over the life of the 30-year bonds issued at the beginning of the construction, with just one condo tower, that estimate is now at $1.7 million. City Administrator Keith Spoelker told The River City News in May that if the apartments were added, that number would reach $4.2 million. If the city waits an estimated ten years for the condo market to recover, he said, it would only bring in $1.9 million.

Meanwhile, there could be litigation between the city and Ackermann. Because the city attorney represents the developer in other cases, Bellevue has hired outside counsel at a cost of $250 an hour.

-Written by Pat LaFleur & Michael Monks

Photo: Harbor Greene via KY Forward