Jackson, and David Ball, are the two investors in the revitalization of the downtown steam plant. In June, Mayor Carty Finkbeiner demanded that the pair get started on the project, or turn it back over to the city or to another developer.
A Blade article at the time (Condos dropped from steam plant development plan - Friday, June 20, 2008) said:
"It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out the condo market, not only here in Toledo, but anywhere, just does not exist," Mr. Ball said. "Thank God we didn't start this project because we would have hated to be in the ground now because the market has changed."
Proposals for putting residential spaces into the former steam plant have been discussed for years with little progress. Mr. Ball and Mr. Jackson took ownership from the city Dec. 30, 2005.
Toledo filed a lawsuit April 10 demanding that Mr. Ball and Mr. Jackson's firm, Water Street Station Development LLC, start development work immediately or return the deed to the city.
The pair received long-awaited tax credits for the project in December from the Ohio Department of Development through the Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit program, which provides recipients with up to 25 percent of their qualified rehabilitation costs.
Water Street Station Development LLC qualified for an estimated $3.1 million in tax credits on the $21.9 million project. About $12.5 million in rehabilitation costs qualified for the tax credit.
Ball and Jackson have already scaled back their plans, eliminating the 32 townhouses they originally included in the design because of the lack of market demand. The current plan calls for 75 apartments, using the tax credits they received.
And the suit filed by the city is currently pending in Common Pleas Court.
But if one of the partners in the company is facing financial difficulty, including lawsuits for defaulting on loans, is the financial stability of Water Street Station Development, LLC, in question?
City Council should ask these questions - and insist on the answers.