Thursday, July 17, 2008

Why Toledo City Council didn't approve the Marina District financing

It's amazing what you find out when you ask for, and receive, a public record. One of the items on last Tuesday's city council meeting was an amended development agreement with Larry Dillin for the Marina District. I was curious about any changed terms, asked for a copy and found out.

A sticking point has been which comes first: the public financing or the letter of credit from the developer?

The new development agreement requires that Dillin submit to the city "an acceptable construction Letter of Credit (LOC) in the amount of at least $8.3 million" at or prior to closing. But it also includes this wording: "... Developer shall provide to the City the financial institution's commitment to issue the LOC prior to passage of the legislation ..."

As we learned in Mayor Carty Finkbeiner's press conference yesterday, Dillin has not been successful in getting a letter of credit from any Ohio bank and is now looking at foreign banks and investors, due to the credit conditions in the States. If he had to provide the LOC prior to closing, council could have passed the legislation committing $10 million in public funds to the construction of infrastructure and the park. However, since Dillin has to provide evidence of a financial institution's commitment to a LOC prior to passage of the legislation, council postponed the vote Tuesday with no explanation.

It should be clear that the reason for the delay is because Dillin doesn't have such a commitment.

For the sake of all concerned, I truly hope he is able to obtain the financial backing and go forward with the project. I still have serious concerns that residential housing (condos or apartments in this market and especially with Toledo's economic condition) is a risky venture in downtown Toledo, but I am trusting in Dillin's expertise and reputation. If he fails, as District 2 Councilman Michael Collins says, 'we'll all look like idiots.'

1 comment:

Tim Higgins said...

Haven't I been hearing lately on WSPD that the most important thing in real estate is: information, information, information?

The good news (and quite frankly surprising news) on this is that the city stepped back from the edge of the precipice. This is not something that they are known for doing.

I would love to see the Marina District move forward, but admit to curiousity on why we need it in a struggling economy with a city population departing and a glut of downtown apartments that are empty. Let's hope that Larry Dillin is able to see something that I cannot.

As a side note, would this show of caution keep Council from looking, as D Michael Collin pointed out, "Stupid"?

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