Office of Citizen
Rest in Peace,
MORE OF YOUR MONEY FLOWS TO RICH GUY & MOM
Submitted by Roldo on Wed, 09/16/2009 - 09:55.
The Plain Dealer this morning headlined a major public give-away as a “$54M injection” for the Wolstein Flats project. private development, SUPPOSEDLY.
You call that an injection? I call it a transfusion.
Below I repeat something I wrote when the project was first announced back in 2006. At that time the public money was obscene. Now Mayor Frank Jackson, Gov. Ted Strickland and the feds are simply adding to the loot Wolstein gets. See below for the sad story of a city willing to give, give and give to the guys that take, take and take.
“The city previously allocated nearly $25 million in loans and grants for the Flats,” says the PD. No explanation, as usual. No details, as usual.
“It’s one of the most complicated economic development projects I’ve ever seen,” Warren told the Plain Dealer. Warren, acting more like a used car salesman than an economic development expert also noted that the project “has challenges, but it’s a very strong package.”
What’s so complicated? The city, state and federal money fed money to a developer and he puts up a development that looks like a loser at best.
Here all this public dough is going to Scott Wolstein and his mom, Iris, and what are we getting? Empty office space in the center of downtown. That’s what we get.
In the first phase Ernst & Young’s downtown office will move from one downtown spot to another. Other firms are moving from the Huntington building to the new subsidized project, soaked in public dollars. The loss of tenants damages a historic building at E. 9th and Euclid, already becoming a ghost spot.
Will some Council member at least get into the legislation that for all these public dollars Wolstein will never go to the County Board of Revision for a reduction in the value of his projects? Don’t hold your breath.
This kind of give-away can be announced with no critical analysis by the Pee Dee or anybody else. The mayoral race is over so here’s your payback Cleveland - you get nothing from Frank Jackson.
Wolstein? Wolstein gets whatever he wants.
Read the deal as it stood in 2006. It only got better yesterday.
This was written back in May 2006 when the city opened your pocketbook to the Wolstein group. And here is how it was then before the newest flow of public money for private interests.
What does the money deal look like? As you might expect in desperate Subsidy City, really horrible. An open checkbook to a wealthy developer.
Here’s the line-up of public loot (your money):
- BDOHS (port authority) will provide $11-million in loans.
- City of Cleveland will provide $6-million in Core City loans.
- Cleveland Public Power will provide $3.4 million in services.
- Cleveland Water Division will provide $740,000 in infrastructure costs.
- Cleveland will provide another $1-million from its general obligation bonds.
- The County, City and Cleveland schools will forgo $11,140,000 in property taxes under a TIF (tax abatement) program to help the project.
- Cuyahoga County will provide $1-million in subsidies.
- The State of Ohio will provide a grant of $3-million for “environmental remediation,” matched by a loan from Cuyahoga County of $1-million, both committed from the 2005 Clean Ohio program.
- Tax exempt Parking Revenue Bonds estimated at $8,540,000 will be repaid from Public parking facility revenues.
- Tax-exempt infrastructure bonds estimated to be $9 million are secured by annual payments by the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District.
- The sum of approximately $4,550,000 will be made available through the Federal Highway Administration.
- The federal government has appropriated and the city shall obtain and make available when required for eligible project costs a grant of $1,464,735 from the U. S. Department of Commerce National Oceanic Atmosphere Administration (NOAA grant).
- All rental and condominium units (some 300 units) will be tax abated at 100 percent for 15 years. No cost estimate given by the city, port authority or county.
- The city agrees to enact legislation as necessary to amend and extend the CRA residential tax abatement program to assure that all residential improvements are eligible for the full 15-year, 100 percent abatement of real estate taxes. No cost given.
- The Regional Transit Authority (RTA) will construct a transit station on the RTA Waterfront Rail Line for the project “…all at no cost or expense” to the developer. No total or estimated cost mentioned.
- The city “shall take all necessary action to vacate all existing streets within the project site to the extent no longer require as public improvements for the project, and any easements which impair or adversely affect the development, construction or occupancy of the project, or which lie within the project site and are no longer required for use as public improvements for the Project.” No cost estimate given.
- The city of Cleveland “shall convey to the developer all the land owned by it (the city) within the residential site not necessary for public improvements by official quit-claim deed…” No cost estimate given.
- Under a section called “public improvements”, it states: “Public improvements necessary to support the Residential project will include but may not be limited to the following….
- Abatement, demolition and environmental remediation (including all necessary earthwork and soil clean-up) of the Project properties as they exist as of the execution date of this Agreement so as to allow for construction of the Residential Project.
- On-site paving and landscaping for all areas from the building lines of the Residential Project to the street curb as well as the public spaces of the Riverfront Park described below.
- A Riverfront Park extending from the southern boundary of the Project along the Cuyahoga River’s edge north to the Norfolk & Southern rail line with an eastern edge defined by a realigned Old River Road and a new street network described below. The Park may include but not be limited to the following elements: a riverfront boardwalk, gather places; pavilions; project signage, retail kiosks; and a marina for transient boater use. The Riverfront Park shall be planned in such a manner so as to receive the proposed extension of the Towpath Trail…
- Utility improvements, replacements and/or upgrades sufficient to provide necessary storm and sanitary sewer, water, electrical, gas and thermal heating and cooling services for the Residential Project and the permanent improvements in the public right of way (e. g. street lighting) and property (e.g. Riverfront Park fixtures and appurtenances) for ongoing and seasonal needs.
- Street improvements, realignments and additions to serve the Residential Project and its associated parking facilities, including all necessary traffic control equipment and signage…
- Bulkhead repair, replacement and improvements sufficient to maintain the long-term integrity of the eastern edge of the Project site bordered by the Cuyahoga River.
- The Public Parking Facilities and Private Parking Facilities estimated to consist of a minimum of 1,600 spaces in total and sufficient to serve the retail and residential uses of the Project by way of four structured facilities and no fewer than two surface lots, including all necessary equipment, landscaping and appurtenances.
- An allocable share of land acquisition costs associated with the square footage occupied by the Public Improvement as a percentage of the entire Project square footage (Residential Project plus Public Improvements.)
- Any and all soft costs which may be attributable to construction of the Public improvements including but not limited to architectural and engineering services, lighting, traffic and parking consultants, permits/fees, testing and inspection, temporary utilities, financing fees and costs and capitalized interest on bonds or loans.
- And the city will wipe the ass of the developer whenever necessary.
Oh, that last one. That was just in my notes not the 57-page agreement.
Do you see why I get upset at the Pee Dee and other news outlets and their tolerance of legalized civic corruption?
The Pee Dee last Friday (in 2006) praised the politicians under, “Progress (there’s that word) on the East Bank, an editorial that concluded by labeling the proposed project “an important cornerstone” and a testimony “that big thinking can pay off in Cleveland.” Can these people read?