Here are some leading questions after the collapse;
• Will Downtown businesses be reimbursed for lost business by the construction company’s insurance? Most of these businesses are family owned, they don’t have a lot of buffer like national franchises especially during one of the busiest shopping times of the year.
• Will the city be reimbursed for the enormous cost of the rescue and security efforts? While most would argue this is part of paying taxes, sometimes those costs go above and beyond.
• What is the signifigance of the meeting on Monday between the city, OSHA, Hultgren and the families affected? Will they be talking about a private settlement?
• Since Legacy Development was one of the companies to bid on the future parking ramp, were they chosen? And if so, will the city pull the contract? Will the public ever be told? Do we have a right to know?
Who are the private investors in Legacy Development?
One of the biggest questions that has been boiling to the top all week – did any of the city councilors, county commissioners or even the Mayor have investments with Legacy, Hultgren or with the PAVE or Lewis project? And if so, isn’t this a conflict of interest, especially since the construction company has gotten quite a few ‘passes’ from the city’s planning/building services office? This speculation comes from the city’s decision to launch NO investigation of their own and a desire to not press charges unless OSHA finds serious fault. Think about it, Cameraman Bruce was arrested and taken to court over a stack of shingles and the possibility of a couple of mice, something the city called a health/public nuisance. Doesn’t it seem silly the city is worried about a couple of mice, but not that a man died in a construction accident? It just doesn’t add up.
I will tell you folks, this goes deeper, and I think some people with some serious connections are involved. Notice the rancor coming from the city lately about the media stirring the pot, they are trying to squelch the message and kill the messenger.
It will be interesting to see who is holding the bag when the smoke clears . . . it may just be one of the biggest scandals this city has ever seen, it will make the secret million dollar settlement on the EC look like vandalism under the 10th Street bridge.
Earlier this year the city issued a request for qualifications from interested investors and received three submittals. A selection review team spent the summer grading the proposal and in July made a recommendation to Community Development, but no selection has been made, O’Neil said.
Among the groups vying for the project was Legacy Development, the company that owns the former Copper Lounge building that collapsed last Friday, killing a construction worker.
While we may never know how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie PoP, we do know, Legacy has a record, and it is getting dimmer every day.
We ask, what could ever go wrong? Why do we need standards and codes? On November 29, 2016 we heard discussions with interested asking great question on how to make a growing downtown Sioux Falls a more inviting place to walk, shop, work and live. It all starts with standards based in codes laid out to make it work.
Why do we let developers who are concerned about their property but not the well-being or feel of the rest? We have design standards to build in safe streets and vibrancy.
Gee, why would we need standards or codes? What could ever go wrong?
Many in the development community may already know what that secret is, but, it seems, some do not;
But that’s not sitting well with JDI, Inc.’s CEO Robin Miller, who’s company wanted to build a 12-story condominium, including underground parking and a rooftop garden.
Miller said unlike the two other proposals, which would have maintained the parcel’s green space by turning it into a park, JDI’s plan would have generated $35 million or more worth of construction, brought high-quality architecture to downtown and bolstered downtown’s parking capacity.
If that plan wasn’t good enough for the city, Miller’s not sure what would be.
“When we first went to the city they said ‘We want to see quality construction that’s uniquely special to that site, and we agreed.” Miller said. “When they don’t proceed with what you think is a good proposal … what’s my incentive to make a proposal on something else.”
What many people may not know is that the city may be holding back on projects like this because of the height of the building. Remember the $1 Million dollar fire truck the city had to provide to make sure they could reach the top of the Events Center? Rumor is the planning office won’t allow NEW buildings over four-six stories. It has a lot to do with the airport and National guard base’s proximity to downtown, but it also comes to the fire department not having the equipment to put out fires over 4-6 stories high. The other bank buildings downtown that are over four stories were built before these regulations were put into place.
Let’s face it, we could develop 12-story condos downtown, but if the fire department can’t reach the top in an emergency, we would be screwed.
I wonder if anyone in Community Development or the Fire Department will ever share this little tid-bit with the good tax payers of Sioux Falls? Oh, that of course requires transparency. LOL.
The petitioners argued that they “substantially complied” with the law in seeking signatures from Sioux Falls voters. Indeed, no one has demonstrated that Team Danielson sought to pad its signature count by seeking signatures from non-Sioux Falls voters. Clerk Greco’s own review of the petition found sufficient local signatures to validate the petition if the oath hadn’t fouled things up.
But Judge Salter doesn’t ask whether the petitioners substantially complied with the signature requirements. He asks whether the petitioners substantially complied with the requirement to swear the municipal initiative petition oath by swearing the statewide initiative petition oath. Judge Salter says that swearing the latter does not substantially comply with swearing the former.
Bruce also weighs in on Cory’s post;
Cory, the courtroom experience was interesting and Judge Salter was very engaged in the questioning. I was impressed in his involvement.
There is a misconception needing to be cleared up. The statement from the ruling “Danielson knew he had obtained the Statewide Form and not the correct Municipal Form when he began his petition effort in late July” was never addressed in the courtroom.
I did not learn of the oath error until a week AFTER the petitions were submitted for validation. Had the city website been functional or the Clerk been willing to assist in construction of the petition, I would not have used the wrong oath.
This narrative is what happens when anyone makes decisions on what you think happened without knowing all the facts. I could have been asked the question when I was on the stand. Now it is part of the permanent record without being part of the evidence.
I have argued that if Judge Salter would have ruled in favor of Danielson, he could have possibly set himself up with an even bigger decision, whether or not to rule an injunction against the bond sale. By ruling against Bruce, based solely on the oath and not signatures Salter freed himself from having to make a very ‘political’ decision. Judges try to stay out of politics, and who can blame them? I’m not saying that was Salter’s angle, I’m just saying by not ruling in favor of the petitions he saved himself a lot of headache.
Others question the role of taxpayer-supported public entities in the area of private development, especially if urgency to find companies to fill parcels at Foundation Park drives down the market.
In that same vein, I question why taxpayers (State and Local) are putting up over $20 million in infrastructure for a project that didn’t even bother to secure a solid purchase agreement? We should have never authorized the expenditures unless we had a ‘real’ promise from a prospect, we went ahead with the possibly of spending $20 million of tax dollars based on a ‘letter’.
Another reason we can’t run government like a business. Unlike private enterprise, government shouldn’t be in the business of taking risks and land speculation.
As for saying I wasn’t shocked that this happen, it is because we have had precedent. For one, just peruse available industrial park land the development foundation and other realtors have available already. It’s like deciding to build a 3 car garage for your Fiat 300 and bag of golf clubs. There isn’t a need for more land, it’s a classic case of urban sprawl. Remember Phillips to the Falls? How did that work out for taxpayers? We spent millions so we can have a new location for German Fest. Also don’t forget the fiasco called EB-5. There is also the employment factor (I’m guessing that is why Logistics Buddy backed out). Capital One is leaving solely based on the fact we don’t have enough workers. There is also the promise of living wage jobs that has never been hammered out before we moved ahead with this project. But hey the city is throwing thousands of dollars at businesses for the “Welfare for Want Ads” project.
I know I often sound negative and am really a cynic at heart, but it pains me to be right about something so wrong. I hope things will work out in the end. But hey folks, it’s Meth Week in Sioux Falls, so don’t worry about failed developments and petition drives. We gotta nip this dang problem in the butt. You go Tiger Mike!
A before and after pictures of Charis corner when an ‘Act of God’ occurs (85th and Audie)
In all fairness nothing under the eyes of the law was done illegally. The car dealership (well at least its owner) got permission from the CORP of Engineers and SF planning department to tear out the wetland behind the dealership and adjacent to the SON neighborhood. The proper forms were filled out.
But according to those who live in the neighborhood, that wasn’t supposed to be the case. There was a promise while developing the car dealership lot that they would leave the wetlands, even improve the look of them, now they are saying they are going to ‘put up a big fountain’. Whatever that means.
This a prime example of how those in power use the back door of government and loopholes to do whatever they want to. Besides the CORP approving this, the city should have never allowed the wetland that served as a retention pond to be torn out knowing the issues with drainage in the neighborhood.
Our planning department is increasingly becoming the laughing stock of our city.
Giving the Sioux Falls Development Foundation tax dollars each year is a debate of it’s own. My stickler with handing over this money for workforce development is that we never see what kind of results there is. I have often called the practice as ‘Welfare for Want Ads’. If you pay good wages and are a good employer, workers will seek you out. If you have to ask the government to fund your want ads because you are struggling finding workers, maybe you are not a good employer to begin with. If you can’t find ‘qualified’ workers, maybe offer a worker training program. I often hear these same business owners and the Chamber scream about the FREE market, then turn around and ask tax payers to bail their asses out. So which is it?