HUDSON — The city announced Saturday that it will continue with the Downtown Phase II project, but it will do so without the developer it has worked with for the past three and a half years.

The city is parting ways with Testa Companies on the residential and commercial development planned for an area adjacent to First and Main.

"The Testa Companies have been great to work with and we are parting company on good terms," said City Manager Jane Howington. "We wish Joel and his company well."

Joel Testa, president of Testa Companies, did not immediately reply to email and social media messages seeking comment.

City spokesperson Jody Roberts said the decision to part ways was "mutual." She added the issue had "been in discussions for a number of weeks. The delayed public notice was due primarily to the COVID-19 outbreak and our attention has been on that."

Roberts said council will now discuss the next steps for the project.

Both the planning commission and city council approved a plan for the construction of 82 residential units late last summer. The city and Testa had then turned to working on a financial agreement. Testa had also been expected to submit plans for 20 condominiums and then for 93,950 square feet of office/commercial space and 16,500 square feet of retail/service space south of Owen Brown.

"Our intent had been to begin construction on the residential component of Phase II first," Howington said. "We’ve heard a lot of feedback from residents about what they want in Phase II residences. We want to make sure that we build what the community needs and that the development fits the community’s character. With all the work the city has done on the development of the Phase II area, we will be able to capitalize on all those efforts in future planning."

She also noted that the city has had strong interest in new commercial space, particularly Class A office space.

"The land at the end of Clinton Street is ready to go," Howington said. "We are confident we can fill that building as soon as it’s finished and begin generating tax revenue for the city. It will allow us to begin realizing some of the investment that’s been made in this area. It will be exciting to see Phase II starting to take shape after all this time."

Beginning work on Phase II will also enable the city to continue work on its "smart signaling" project, designed to address traffic congestion in downtown Hudson, and also undertake a major stormwater management project to resolve sewer issues currently affecting homeowners in the city’s Historic District.

"We feel this is a real turning point on this project," said Howington. "While in the midst of the coronavirus crisis this may not be the best time to announce this, we know it has been a long process to get to this point and we wanted citizens to know that this decision has been made."

With city officials focused on the COVID-19 outbreak, Roberts said she could not at this point provide a timeline on when the Phase II project would be finished.

Updates on Phase II will be posted to the city’s website at www.hudson.oh.us/downtownphase2 and shared on the city’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at 330-541-9421, pkeren@recordpub.com, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.