UPDATED: TIF #18. Like clockwork another planned TIF handout to a wealthy SF developer

“I will get Batman someday, I will, but first I need a TIF.”

Notice on the agenda there is no way to FF to item’s 16 and 17. There is also NO attached PDF or PP documents with the items.

Hmmmm.

So I will sum up the TIF for you (FF:43:40) Mega-rich SF Developer Craig Lloyd is asking for a(nother) TIF, because, gosh-golly-gee, nobody wants to invest in developing DT because it is too expensive and risky. (Yeah, landing a Hilton hotel DT must have been a money losing endeavor).

I will have to give props to the city, they sure put on a real Broadway musical of epic proportions telling us how this is needed (TIF #18 – Phillips to the Falls area). Of course they brought up the same old song and dance; environmental cleanup, drainage, etc. But isn’t this an expense every developer has to incur when they develop land? Is it out of the ordinary? Just wondering?

I will give Planning Commission chair Ken Dunlap credit for asking great questions about TIF’s and how they take away from the tax rolls to subsidize a project. Ken gets the bumbling-mumbling community development employee ‘Brent’ to admit that the expense numbers presented are an ‘estimate’ and not ‘actual’ costs. So now we are basing TIF’s on ‘estimates’? Isn’t that special.

Ken also gets the city to admit that the project ‘cannot’ move forward without the TIF. Remember when we last heard this song and dance? COSTCO. Well, how did that turnout? The project WAS going to happen without the TIF, but our complacent and self-serving city council voted for it anyway.

Back to the meeting . . . Jeff Schmidt couldn’t take the line of questioning anymore from Dunlap so he shoves Bumbling Brent aside in an attempt to stop the line of questioning. Well, didn’t stop Brent, he returns to the podium to make the BS statement that it would be far cheaper and less of a risk to build these ‘loft apartments’ on the edge of town.

Really? I consistently hear from people that they want to live DT but there is not enough rentals available. These apartments will fill up FAST! To make this crazy statement that we need to subsidize an apartment building because no one will build it unless the city bails them out is a flat out lie! Lloyd has rental property all over this city. If he didn’t make money from these properties he wouldn’t continue to build them, and these apartments are no different. He would build them with or without the TIF. Why doesn’t someone just get Lloyd to admit that?

“Craig, what if the TIF is not awarded, will you still develop?”

Of course it doesn’t stop Lloyd from coming forward and defending the city’s ‘estimates’ on costs. He first starts out by talking about the recession a few years ago (yeah, I’m sure you have been really hurting – where can I send the box of tissues?) Lloyd then starts talking about all the costs involved with developing DT. Yeah? So what? Every project has a ‘cost’. He then confesses that he couldn’t build the project without the TIF. He says that this project has become a ‘love affair’ and not a money making endeavor. Yeah, right. Like Mr. Lloyd is doing this project out of the goodness of his heart, like every project he has done in this city. Because making millions over the years was something he has done for the good people of Sioux Falls. I can accept that. What I can’t accept is when he starts to take away tax dollars for education to help fund his ‘projects’ because you know, he is helping us out.

So I am wondering how much Lloyd paid the city to put this cheerleader session on for him. It seems now private developers even have community development working for them.

UPDATE:

I have a few more things to add to this post after closer review. The Planning Commission weren’t actually given the plan for the district until the day prior to the meeting.  This is really an administrative issue coming out of Community Development.  Are they having trouble managing their workload?  In fact, there are still TIF’s out there, going back to TIF 13 that do not have development agreements in place yet.
I know I can be a little tough on Lloyd, but honestly I’m guessing a lot of development DT would not happen without him, even if we are subsidizing his projects (which I do not agree with). This particular TIF may be justified because unfortunately much of what remains for developable land in Uptown is contaminated and to the point that there will be restrictions placed on what is allowed for development.  Without the TIF for Craig he wouldn’t be able to get the financial institutions to back his development loans.  This is where the problem really lies in terms of developing downtown.  It is more expensive both in the beginning and end to develop and own property – even if there is a demand for the end product.  The financial institutions know that there are issues and increase financing percentages to ensure their butts are covered.  Because of those increases it is tough, without TIF, to find investors that will provide enough capital to make these projects happen.  But every situation is different.
The biggest problem is that Community Development isn’t doing their job in making sure that the developer remains in check and information is being provided to all approving authorities prior to asking them for recommendations.  What will happen if the City can’t get their act together and get the development agreements for these things done?  That means by the time that revenues start flowing in, they won’t be able to be paid back out because the legal documentation allowing them to do so isn’t in place.  That is messy and will cause many more issues in years to come.
Maybe a moratorium should be placed on issuing TIF’s until the Council addresses the topic. That is, if the council even knows what the heck is going on over in the Community Development office.

9 comments ↓

#1 John on 11.11.12 at 6:30 pm

Ya gotta admire the chutzpah of these alleged rhinos embrace of corporate welfare.

#2 Pathloss on 11.11.12 at 7:43 pm

Sad how this man uses taxpayers to make he and Huether wealthy. Sadder how no city project is competitive bid process. Saddest how these unwarranted projects may be affordable and perhaps feasible if they contracted competant fair priced developers instead of this fat cat.

#3 Pathloss on 11.11.12 at 7:55 pm

TIF’s should come to a public vote. The council can vote against but (with Home Rule) the mayor can override them. TIF’s are 7 figures public funds fraud. The population has no defense or due process recourse. Time for an FBI investigation.

#4 Scott on 11.11.12 at 8:11 pm

I bet Craig Lloyd bitches and bitches about welfare…and will never seen the irony in that.

#5 Poly43 on 11.11.12 at 9:09 pm

Back in the day I worked in the trades. Lloyd got his start in this town 40 years ago building houses. Back when 90% of the trades were union. He made it by subbing out to the lowest non union tradesmen he could find. Even those low ballers were not safe. Doing work for lloyd at 60 cents on the dollar held no guarantees. If he could find some trades to do it for 59 cents on the dollar…he’d throw that sub under the bus in a heartbeat.

NEVER trusted him…yet the city throws money at him every chance they get. Go figure.

#6 Scott on 11.11.12 at 9:37 pm

It’s never been about quality in this town. It’s all about proclaiming yourself as a person who “loves this city”, and anybody who disagrees with him clearly doesn’t.

#7 Detroit Lewis on 11.11.12 at 9:47 pm

Poly – I have heard this story for years. I don’t want this to be a bash session, I cannot blame Lloyd for asking for handouts. They are available, just like the COSTCO Tif, why not ask? It would be like you are me going to the grocery store and seeing there is a rebate on a certain item that is close to 25%. Wouldn’t we be stupid not to send it in? My complaint isn’t with Mr. Lloyd, who has already created his own hell, my complaint is that he has city employees in his corner and subsidize him even further by making the case for him. When has a city employee ever gone to bat for a retired person on a fixed income for a property tax freeze? Maybe they do, but you never see it publicly. Here we have several ‘city employees’ coming to bat for a mega-rich, private developer, on our time, to give them a rebate. Total fucking bullshit.

#8 Tom H. on 11.12.12 at 9:55 am

So now we are basing TIF’s on ‘estimates’?

If you look closely, you’ll see that just about everything the City does these days is done based on estimates. The propsed highway 100 loop? It’s all based on the magical idea of ‘if you build it, they will come’. In my opinion, the New Economy is not going to work quite that way anymore. We continue to follow this path at our own peril.

#9 Dan Daily on 11.12.12 at 12:09 pm

Good comments. Tom H. is right, come into present day. Lewis has a point. More important to control TIF’s than bash one developer.

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