A simple Copper Lounge question we’d like an answer to (Cameraman Bruce)

There once was a building standing proud for one hundred years through many business changes and owners.
There once was a building standing in the midst of decay but it stood proud and survived.
There once was a building in need of some work to help it survive and the city offered help to keep the facade solid.
There once was a promise by all to keep the building strong and proud for many more generations.
There once was a building, short and proud with a solid facade financed by the public treasury.
There once was a building in downtown Sioux Falls the people of our little town on the prairie felt was important enough to trust future owners with public treasury to keep it solid.
The proud building stood with a new facade, new use and a bronze plaque.
Then there was a plan to tear down the proud building with the new facade and plaque.
The proud building won a reprieve when someone forgot to buy the building before announcing it was going to be gone.
and then….
The proud building was sold to a new owner with a big new plan to change it one more time.
The once proud building is now gone.
Where is the facade bought and paid for by the public treasury?
The dumpsters are now gone with the public’s facade and once proud plaque.
As this now empty spot is to be made into something else, we ask the question: where is public’s money?
The public treasury paid for a once proud facade and none of it was saved, not a brick, not a window, not a plaque.
When the owner brought in the dumpsters to clean up his mess, didn’t the developer receive an insurance claim to pay off the debts and allow them to put a new building up?
Where is the facade money to replenish the city’s fund?
Since the building is gone, where is the city’s money from the insurance?
Doesn’t the city deserve to get it’s money back now?
The building is gone and so is the facade easement program.
Why is there no protection for the city treasury when this city property is destroyed? If you are driving down the street and run into a light pole, your insurance company has to pay the city for the loss. Why is this different?
You do not build 100 years of historical past with new brick and mortar. The plan is for a new building, new design and no connection to the past except for a grave marker to remind those who care to remember.
The city property was destroyed through no fault of the once proud building, why are we letting the owner of the building keep money no one else would be entitled to keep? The owner must repay the façade easement the owner was entrusted to protect.
Bruce Danielson


5 comments ↓

#1 l3wis on 08.25.17 at 2:55 pm

I’m posting this email in response to this post from Councilor Neitzert;

Bruce,

Just by coincidence I had been discussing this issue with Community Development and the City Attorney’s Office. I also obtained the original contract.

The contract contemplates a number of possible scenarios, including a total loss of the structure for which the facade and its associated easement is attached.

A few notes…

1. The easement continues to run with the land, it is a registered lien at the courthouse on the property, and the state of the building doesn’t change that.

2. The city has the right per the contract to foreclose or take other legal action if the terms of the contract are materially breached.

3. There is NOT a material breach at this point by the grantee (owner). Damage or total loss of the easement in and of itself is not a breach, not replacing it or reimbursing the city pursuant to the terms of the contract within a certain time period is. They aren’t there yet.

4. They can satisfy the facade easement if upon reconstruction they do another facade that is approved by the Board of Historic Preservation and meets the intent of the facade easement program and the contract.

If they choose not to reconstruct, or, choose not to do something that meets the requirements they would have to pay back the value of the easement and the lien would then be satisfied and released by the city at the county.

5. Upon damage or total loss, the owner must communicate with the city within a certain timeframe and provide a plan. That was done in the required amount of time. Community development was satisfied that a reconstruction including a historically appropriate facade would be part of it and it was feasible so it was approved by the department.

6. The contract stipulates the owner has 18 months to start construction after a total loss. Until then they are not in a material breach of the contract. There is a window allowed to rebuild. The 18 month window would end about June 2018. The city in its sole discretion can declare the grantee in breach, or if they are satisfied it is moving along, they can extend this period, i.e. if they were satisfied they were moving towards construction but it wasn’t started yet.

7. The easement cannot be extinguished nor can we force them to pay back until there is a material breach of the contract, which at this point has not happened. If 18 months lapses, it would be a discussion about what the future would be.

It is a very valid concern that our interest is protected and those tax dollars are paid back, or, our facade is restored. At this point there is no material breach of the contract, and both sides I believe are working on good faith to come to a resolution. At this point the plan would be that a building would be reconstructed, including a facade that would be approved by the Board and meet the necessary requirements.

Thanks.

Greg Neitzert
City Councilor – Northwest District

#2 The D@ily Spin on 08.25.17 at 4:45 pm

In other words, everybody waits years until the subject is dropped and the city fails to timely cite breach of contract.

#3 Southern Exposure on 08.27.17 at 2:07 am

Great job, Greg !

#4 The Guy from Guernsey on 08.27.17 at 10:44 pm

Aw, pshaw. The Argus Leader details that this is only ~$30,000.
What’s 30 [or 40?] thousand among cronies?
30 Large is barely a blister on the butt of Norm Drake’s sacred IRR for these projects.
Maybe we should cancel the easement and let them keep the money?

#5 Bruce on 08.28.17 at 8:29 am

Thank you Greg for helping the town understand how this program works. We have been asking since December but our town’s staff and administration seemed to not want us to know.

It’s always in the contracts and we really never get to see all the fine print.

Thank again Greg for your explanation and to your DaCola for letting be ask the question!

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