Which one comes first: CCDC’s approval of Doug Manchester’s plans for the Navy Broadway Complex, or the lease between Manchester and his Navy landlords?

This is one of the big arguments surrounding the Navy Broadway Complex deal and it became a major point of contention at Wednesday’s CCDC meeting.

The Navy and Manchester say they need the ink to be dry on their lease agreement by Jan.1 or else the base will close and be put up for grabs to other military agencies, federal agencies and – somewhere down the line – the city government.

But if the lease needs to be completed by New Years’ Day, when does the CCDC need to bless the deal? Before or after?

It’s not that clear, and some of the parties aren’t even willing to venture a guess.

CCDC’s role is to make sure that Manchester’s proposed office-and-hotel project is in sync with the guidelines the city and Navy agreed to in 1992. This agreement governs everything from the size of the development, the uses allowed on the property, and its urban design and aesthetics.

Individual structures on the property, save for the Navy headquarters, will be reviewed by the city government, one at a time.

The Navy officials said they would not comment on whether the lease can be approved without CCDC’s blessing.

Manchester’s frontman Perry Dealy hinted that it was bad business to pen a lease with the Navy before CCDC was satisfied.

“Would you?” he asked the CCDC board.

CCDC board member Fred Maas scoffed at the question. Maas had to receive a green light from the city’s voters, not just a seven-member panel like Manchester is trying to navigate, before he was allowed to build his Black Mountain Ranch development in North City.

The CCDC board has sought extensions several times to hear more discussion on the project before it signs off.

“My bias is that more people benefit from more time and more dialogue,” CCDC board member Kim John Kilkenny said.

CCDC has scheduled an Oct. 4 meeting to further review the proposal. That meeting will take place at 9:30 a.m. at the Westin downtown.

The board requested an afternoon meeting that same day in case the members were ready to sign off, but CCDC has not scheduled that meeting yet.

Manchester and the Navy are hoping CCDC picks up the pace.

“If we’re a few days into October, that’s reasonable, but we’re right up against the deadline,” Dealy said last week.

EVAN McLAUGHLIN

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