Office of Citizen
Rest in Peace,
WOLSTEIN & CLEVELAND'S LONG WINTER OF DISCONTENT
Submitted by Roldo on Thu, 01/22/2009 - 11:17.
It’s an untidy and greedy free for all. Grab while you can. If you can.
So why shouldn’t Scott Wolstein – whose grandiose Flats development has hit a frigid stall despite huge promised public subsidies – enter the messed up deal on the medical mart and convention center issue.
Confusion may be the mark of bad planning, poor communications and lack of leadership and, quite frankly, an economy in a seemingly permanent dump.
However, chaos seems to suit our so-called Leadership.
Wolstein, whose multi-million dollar development is as frozen our weather, hopes to grab a bunch more public dough by trying to thaw his Flats project with an infusion of another public project.
The Wolsteins have always been a third-rate political power in Cleveland until recently. That means well behind Sam Miller and Al Ratner of Forest City and, of course, Dick Jacobs – who at this time has gotten all he can handle from our politicians.
The Wolsteins believe now is their time.
The Plain Dealer story this morning notes that Wolstein’s “pitch has piqued the interest of Merchandise Mart Properties Inc. (MMPI)” and that’s no wonder since MMPI appears unable to pull off this venture. MMPI’s deal is heavy with public subsidies but it still can’t seem to get the monster off the ground.
MMPI seems at a dead end. The PD’s flurry of attention indicates that there’s plenty of hand-wringing over the inability to bring this project to fruition.
Power shifts over the years. Going back to the 1970s Art Modell was a big cheese but he failed to keep his political benefactors happy. He got outmaneuvered by politician-generous Jacobs. Modell had to leave town and find new suckers in Baltimore.
Now it looks as if Wolstein is trying to nudge Sam and Al out of the action – maybe out of town, too - by taking the med mart and convention center sugar pot away from them. Sam and Al, of course, want the deal on their land. They also want $40 million for the land some call a cliff.
The problem, of course, is that neither development offers the public what it needs or deserves as they tries to take more $1 billion in taxpayer money over 20 years.
If you want a rundown of what Cleveland and other governmental bodies have offered as subsidies to Wolstein’s Flats project check the end of this previous column on his Flats project: