Jan. 9 ó To the Editor:
What is it that our Council does not understand about why people are objecting to the current plan?
Ms. Dwyer thinks we donít understand it (I attended and listened intently to Colbert-Puffís excellent detailed explanation of the plan as did everyone else).
Mr. Lazenby says it did a good job of addressing the public input (which was parking, open space and post office). This proposal has little or no parking, no open space (we didnít count pavement) and the post office is up in the air. So I donít understand his comment in the paper.
Our Mayor thinks we need a 3-D representation and then we will love it? I donít think so.
The 200 or so people present Monday (who waited 2 hours to be able to speak) were very clear.
There are two major issues that doom this project (without looking at the open space issue or the design):
PARKING. There are three proposed mixed use buildings with no parking. So we ask: who will want to pay top dollar for either office space, retail space or restaurant with no parking? No one on the Council was willing to address this issue, except Rick Becksted who has questioned the parking. (And remember, parking was number one on public input.)
There are 77 Parking spaces for the apartment building Ė 1 space per unit. These are high priced apartments so I am wondering where residents will put their second car, or how they will have guests.
(And by the way, we lose 33 parking spaces we have been able to use on weekends for the theater and other Bow Street activities.) Parking alone makes this proposal a non starter.
THE FINANCIAL DEAL: The developers proposal says the city will only get revenue when the entire complex reaches 95 percent occupancy. They will also take their equity out before paying the city. And they over estimate the possible property taxes. (A great deal has already been written about this)
Real Estate professionals have a pretty good handle on current occupancy rates of commercial property in the city. I would like to know what they are, along with current assessments. I have been told that 95 percent occupancy is almost impossible to maintain.
We also need to factor in the fact that Kane is currently constructing more commercial buildings in downtown. I would think they might work on getting tenants for these before McIntyre since it would be better for them financially.
These two issues alone make this a poor deal for the city and offer great protection for the developer. And this has been pointed out by many people. To be fair, the Council did say they would be negotiating with the developer about their financial proposal. Letís hope their counter proposal is much better for the city.
And I hope part of this discussion is about possible bankruptcy. With no parking, the occupancy rate is not going to be very high. What will trigger Kane to declare bankruptcy and who will be left holding the bag?
Design and density issues aside, the Council needs to hear and act upon the genuine concerns of the residents and taxpayers. I hope that the councilors are now more informed about our protests.