Thursday, April 14, 2011

Quick thoughts on the sale of the Marina District

The good and the bad in bullet point fashion:

*** Dashing Pacific Group, the new owners of The Docks, has offered to purchase the Marina District. The price is significantly less than the 'investment' that's been made with tax dollars, but then, the 'investment' costs weren't really justified by any return-on-investment (ROI) analysis. In the end, the property is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. The offer is a good thing.

*** Dashing Pacific is actually offering to purchase the land - as in, give the city money for it. Unlike prior developers, they're not asking for anything other than the sale. Prior interested parties wanted the city to spend money on various things, which the city agreed to do, putting us into the position where the 'investment' was greater than the value of the property. The fact that they want to purchase without other public dollars being spent is a good thing.

*** City Council is posturing about putting demands - or conditions - on the sale: everything from Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) to a business plan to rescinding the sale if the plan doesn't progress as expected. As Mayor Mike Bell patiently tried to explain to council, these ideas scream 'anti-business' and might not sink just this deal, but future deals for economic growth in the region. Bell's understanding of this and his directness in addressing city council is a good thing. The conditions of council are definitely in the bad category.

*** City Council has never required a business plan in the past, so why now? It might be a good thing if they've learned from prior mistakes, but it's a bad thing in this case for a single critical reason: this is a purchase of property that transfers ownership to a private entity. Government has no business dictating the terms and conditions once they no longer own the property. If they don't believe the buyers have the capacity to develop the property into a thriving, profitable venture, then don't sell it. But they'd be hard pressed to make that argument after selling The Docks to the same group. So let the new private property owners do what they must to accomplish the economic growth we so desperately want and need in Toledo. That would be a good thing.

*** Additionally, Council needs to stop being hypocrites on these types of arrangements. They should require business plans whenever they accept a grant on behalf of a development or guarantee a loan (which they've done in the past and for which we are STILL paying). But while members of council might be capable of reading and understanding such plans, I doubt that even half of them have the background and experience or knowledge to adequately evaluate such plans and determine potentials for success or failure. Some have made the argument that banks require business plans - but council isn't a bank and shouldn't act like one. If the venture is worthy of a bank loan, it shouldn't need public monies to go forward. And if a bank won't loan for a project, certainly council shouldn't either. If council would follow this premise, it would be a good thing. That they don't is certainly bad.

Sell the property to Dashing Pacific and then get out of the way. That would be the BEST thing.


Roman said...

I am constantly amazed by the "experts" in our local government who want to put silly restrictions on businesses who want to invest their private money in our area.

Has anyone on City Council ever ran a business? Why do they think any of the ideas they submit would work?

In reality, they are just obey their masters in the Union Halls. By various means, a small percentage of people have been able to dictate to the rest of us how to live.

skeeter1107 said...

Well said Maggie!

To reiterate one of your points. They really don't comprehend how damaging their behavior is relative to future business in the City.

Being that I'm a business owner and have done some real estate development in Toledo, this behavior is not new. For that very reason, I can no longer afford to even attempt to or consider a real estate development in Toledo. But I'm not alone. People are afraid to invest in much of anything if you risk being jerked around by politicians and the City of Toledo bureaucracy.

So what do you do? You don't!

skeeter1107 said...

Sounds like the Dashing Pacific group found out that the City Council members are Communist

Guess that they didn't want to pay $3.8 million so that someone else can tell them what to do with their private property.

James said...

It looks like the unions and their friends on city council have gotten IN the way of the deal.

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