Developer gets more time on deal

A developer who plans to buy the former Sears property has been granted an additional 30 days to await U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development acceptance of paperwork certifying the property has no environmental problems.

The City Council has granted developer Roger Landry the extra time.

In November, city officials and Landry reached a purchase agreement that gave him 60 days to conduct an environmental assessment of the 3.5-acre site at Ryan and Mill streets before he paid $1.06 million to close the deal. The extension lasts until Feb. 25.

“Mr. Landry immediately got on phase one of the deal, which was the environmental due diligence period. He got a report from a consultant that said the land had no environmental issues. Mr. Landry’s banker accepted that, but because of language related to remediation and hazardous waste that was removed, HUD will be a little slower,” City Attorney Billy Loftin said.

City Councilwoman Luvertha August voted for the extension, but cautioned the administration not to allow future delays on closing the deal.

“We’ve been there before, and I feel burned,” August said, referring to the failed Cypress Development project, in which Landry served as a spokesman.

That project was granted extensions and failed after the development group was unable to obtain financing for the project, which had been proposed for the Civic Center grounds.

Landry’s $20 million plan envisions more than 170 residential units and 22,000 square feet of business space.