NoMa: fight won’t doom district | ParkRecord.com

NoMa: fight won’t doom district

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

Julie Nester opened her namesake gallery more than two years ago, drawing lots of art buyers since then, she says, and watching the North of Main district where the gallery sits burgeon.

She expects the growth to continue, despite a surprise lawsuit between NoMa businessmen that entangles some of the prime property in the district, centered along Bonanza Drive, in Prospector.

"Park City’s growing. NoMa’s growing. This area used to be something completely different than it is today, and not that long ago," Nester, a member of the board of the NoMa Business Alliance, says.

People with business interests in the NoMa district have similar expectations, saying that the lawsuit, pitting former NoMa business partners Rodman Jordan and Mark Fischer against each other, will not ruin the plans to make the area a hip place.

They say the NoMa’s momentum continues despite the lawsuit and, regardless of the outcome, the district can boom.

"There’s a lot of other businesses that have an interest in having this succeed as a vibrant area," Nester says.

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But the Jordan-Fischer dispute comes as Jordan is trying to re-energize NoMa with his idea of loft-style living, new restaurants and trendy boutiques. The lawsuit will likely decide whether Jordan or Fischer controls large swaths of NoMa, including high profile properties in the district like Rail Central.

The lawsuit comes months after City Hall considered wide-ranging changes to the development rules, which Jordan wants approved in order to make it easier to redo the district. Those talks stalled, with building heights among the undecided points, and it seems unlikely they will restart until after the Jordan-Fischer case is finished.

"There’s a lot of other businesses that have an interest in having this succeed as a vibrant area," Nester says, explaining her view that NoMa’s future is not exclusively tied to the case.

Meanwhile, the leaders of the business alliance on Wednesday are expected to meet privately to craft a statement about the case. Terry Frank, the vice president of the alliance and the owner of No Place Like Home, a store in the district, predicts the statement will call for continued success in NoMa.

He does not provide details about the statement but says the alliance asked Jordan, who is Frank’s landlord at No Place Like Home, to attend the meeting.

Frank says it is better that the lawsuit be settled soon. He prefers it be finished well before major development starts in NoMa, perhaps in a few years.

"It does take some of the air out of the balloon, so to speak, with the excitement and the uncertainty now," Frank says, confident, however, NoMa can succeed.

Jordan, who is the president of the business alliance, agrees that it is best that the dispute be settled soon instead of in a few years, when it could delay construction. He says the lawsuit is not a setback to the district.

"NoMa is bigger than I am and is bigger than Centura is," Jordan says, referring to one of the firms involved in the lawsuit. "The sustainability of NoMa doesn’t hinge on a parties’ dispute."