Entries Tagged 'Developers' ↓

Was this car dealership a non-profit charity when we gave them a $1 million dollar street?

Remember this? The city employees and directors working hard to not only close a public residential street but also working OT to make sure a private business owner got the property (valued at close to $1 million) for FREE. The dealership offered to pay nothing for the street vacation. But hey, how many jobs were created? How many people stayed out of jail? How much did this save our justice system? Not sure, but they did get to build a gigantic parking lot. When the mayor’s administration wants to throw a hissy fit over giving away a rust bucket of a building, I only have to show them this fiasco, and then ask them to STFU.

Sioux Falls Affordable Housing Crisis

Cory beat me to this post (thank you). I figured he would do a much better job of analyzing the situation;

As a primary solution, ARI advocates coordination among all actors in affordable housing: the city, state, non-profits, and developers.

But remember: collectivism is a response to market failure. Even amidst 2.3% unemployment, Sioux Falls employers are failing to provide their scarce workers with the wages they need to support the renovation and construction of decent cheap houses. Since our captains of industry and bumper-car owners are being stingy, we have to run around drawing cooperation lines on concept maps and pouring tax incentives and federal grants into housing efforts.

Ironically I had this conversation Saturday with Mayoral hopeful Nick Weiland. I told him that the city needs to have less focus on annexation and urban sprawl and a push for fixing up our core, central and proper areas of Sioux Falls, which basically is 41st street to Russell and Kiwanis to Cleveland Ave (my educated guess). I’m not just talking sewer/water, roads and curb and gutter, I’m talking properties. This area of town has some of the most affordable housing in our city, unfortunately many of these single family homes and four-plex apartments also need some TLC. But they are perfect for affordable housing. The solution I have offered for several years is to change our TIF program to include landlords and single family homeowners willing to invest in these core houses and apartments and have any other loose ends tied up with low interest or no interest loans from community development or other state and federal programs. If we can give TIFs to luxury condos (Washington Square) we can certainly turn the program over to people willing to help out with our affordable housing glut.

The other issue is that housing costs are not in line with wages in Sioux Falls, and the regressive sales tax system is not helping matters.

At the end of the day, while a study like this is comprehensive and needed, it didn’t tell us anything new. It takes more then a report to change things, it takes a big boot up the asses of our local and state lawmakers to change the rules of tax incentives to get the ball rolling on this.

To Grant or Not Street (Jan 3, 2017)

Is this a misunderstanding, a good project gone bad or just plainly a mistake? Grant Street is one of those forgotten pieces and places of Sioux Falls. A neighborhood without the promised neighbors, a mud road instead of the promised paved street all courtesy of poor planning on the part of the city of Sioux Falls.

Grant Street is a forgotten place in need of our help. It should not be an industrial park because of a flying fickled finger of fate put it in a battle to be livable. On January 3, 2017 the Grant Street neighbors banded together to fight a development of storage units instead of the once promised twin homes with a city street.

Fix the street, fix the neighborhood and make it something any of us would be willing to live in. The city of Sioux Falls allowed this problem to exist, now solve it.

What is going on with the Copper Lounge investigation?

While the mayor was touting building a $25 million dollar building downtown today (that we don’t need) over on Phillips Avenue they were trying to prop up PAVE. Of course the OSHA findings could take months and there could be a lot of closed door settlements with insurance companies.

But this question was posed to me today; is Hultgren Construction still around? I guess I am not sure, but the word coming back to me is that many of the projects they were working on around town have halted. Is it a precautionary measure to freeze their assets or to liquidate them?

Funny how when this all happened every TV station in town sprouted an investigative reporter as if a college professor was getting arrested for sexual assault. Now we hear NO followup with the building collapse. Maybe they found another mysterious white truck driving through Platte, SD in the middle of the night?

Washington Square VS. City Administration Building

I’m just putting it out there, is it fair to compare the two buildings in cost and size and what would be accomplished?

Washington Square with a price-tag of $28 million;

Washington Square will feature 22 luxury condos, 7-thousand square feet of retail space, 22-thousand square feet of office space and nearly 200 additional public parking spots.

The city administration building is $25 million;

The city this week unveiled details surrounding a proposed 79,000-square-foot city administration building in downtown Sioux Falls that would include three stories and a basement level featuring 34 underground parking spaces.

I guess if I was comparing apples to apples, Washington Square is getting more bang for the buck.

South DaCola 2016 year in review (Part I)

art-maze-mower-lrArtMaze, one of the better parts of Sioux Falls life in 2016

2016 has been a rough year for citizen activism. While it has been up and down here in Sioux Falls with many successes and failures to boot, it seems Washington DC has gone into full collapse as we allowed racist, sexist, hillbillies to elect our president.

READ ABOUT 2015 REVIEW HERE.

But locally there were three things that stood out;

• Governor Daugaard claiming that voters were ‘hoodwinked’ into voting for IM 22, then getting the Pierre (in)justice system to go along with it. Funny how for over 40 years voters have been voting his party into power, and no word about ‘hoodwinking’ but once that corrupt power will be challenged, all the voters are idiots. As one official told me that used to work for Dennis, it’s not the public that are idiots, it’s Dennis. And his idiocy has been shining through.

• The South Dakota Democratic Party’s bottom completely fell out, and the people in charge patted themselves on the back. Insanity I tell you! Insanity!

• But one of the greatest achievements of the year is the Sioux Falls City Council’s change of power. The four new councilors have been flexing their muscles with a little help from Councilor Erickson, and while they have had a few missteps to start out, they have been learning from the battle scars. While ‘leadership’ of the council (Rolfing and Kiley) seem to be on a two man mission to rubberstamp all things Huether, shut down public input, and concoct false ethics charges against a fellow councilor (until they got caught lying like the snakes they are) they are becoming more and more in check. The city council has many big plans for 2017, and I have a feeling their agenda will push through easily as our lame duck mayor melts.

Let’s take a look at some the finer high and low points of 2016;

• The Huether Tennis center continues to block parking from other event attendees at the Sanford Sports complex though they basically stole $500K from taxpayers for the facility. Throughout the year there was several reports on cones and signs blocking the lot with not cars in it. But hey Mike’s Bride won an award this year and seemed surprised she did, without commenting that her check to the organization that gave the award wasn’t returned.

• The Sioux Falls City Council leadership and mayor’s HR department pulled a military retiree out of their asses for city clerk, a person who will be in charge of our city elections and hasn’t been registered to vote for years. He also proved his knowledge of official stamps when he stamped a petition without even bothering to read it. While Mr. Greco has gotten better over the year, the city clerk position should not be a $80K+ a year job as an apprentice, sadly being trained by one of his assistant clerks who has ten times the qualifications and applied for the position but was turned down. I’m sure it had nothing to do with the council chair’s view of women in the work place.

• Speaking of letting the mayor’s HR department and Leadership’s Mutt and Jeff pick the next internal auditor, the council barked loud enough that they did not want another ‘Greco’ pick. Not sure if the barking worked, but the person who was set to take the job saw the writing on the wall and turned it down. Hopefully the person who ultimately gets the position won’t be turned down because they shave their legs.

• The city continues to blow money on the Winter Wonderland Display, but the way the mayor has been cutting budgets these days, I expect next year’s display to be a couple of homeless barrel fire pits, sponsored by the Dudley House of course.

• After posting about the ridiculous corporate like raises the mayor has been giving to his management team, he turns around and still screws the minions with dismal raises again this year. I think in a special note to the city employees on their Christmas paystub he wrote, “I don’t care.”

• The city continues the FREE condom distribution program at area bars, and for some reason Monk’s is always emptied the quickest. Coincidence that is also a favorite watering hole of city managers . . .

• The Tuthill shooting case becomes ‘inactive’ and a tree branch shadow gets off scott free.

• The Erp wrongfully calls out local massage therapists as prejudice because they pointed out the ‘shower massages’ that were taking place around town. Apparently someone got a bad fortune cookie that day.

• The car rental tax and BID tax grabby-grabby fails in Sioux Falls, but the state legislature passes one of the most idiotic tax increases ever so our teachers are now just tied for last instead of dead last in pay. Out hoodwinking governor already has plans to rob the pot only one year after its passage.

• Hartford’s city government was in a state of collapse. Who really cares?

• The Levitt Pavilion is moving forward in Sioux Falls. It will be nice watching outdoor concerts sitting in the grass while battery acid is boiling beneath our asses.

• The Boulevard ordinance changes went into effect. Now stop worrying about rocks and plant a garden.

• The Washington Pavilion got a change of leadership after Darrin Smith takes over as President. So far he has only eliminated one director, but I hear the blood-letting has just begun. Now let’s throw another couple of million at the place to fix the poor construction to begin with. That will never happen with the Events Center . . .

• The Events Center cracks down on outside snacks and guns at events. We are all now safe from cheap fat people shooting us, but not in the parking lot.

• The Pottie Room war starts in Pierre and is guaranteed to return in 2017.

• A state legislator calls transgender people ‘twisted’. Now I’m struggling with what word to use describing our state legislators?

• A city council candidate throws a hissy fit over a post I wrote about his wife’s involvement with the Jesus plows and after threats to my employer I pull the post. He ends up taking last place in the at-large race. How’s Jesus working out for you now?

• Due to health reasons, Kermit Staggers decides not to run for a 4th term on the city council. His endorsement of Stehly puts her over the top.

• One of the youngest candidates in city history runs for city council. I apologize to Briggs for all the shitty things I said about him during the campaign.

• The Argus Leader sues the city for the details in the secret events center siding settlement. The Argus loses the first round but it is headed to the SD Supreme Court.

• On a similar note, the SON neighborhood is also awaiting a judgement in their Walmart suit with the SD Supreme Court.

• While our Sioux Falls City Council approves the DAPL through Sioux Falls, it takes thousands of protesters in ND to actually stop it. Too bad our city council chair doesn’t understand how to vote.

• The Mayor and Q-Tip Smith screwup the DT parking ramp development by flapping their traps to soon, and the council later on in the year returns the favor and defunds the ramp all together for 2017. I still think the fiasco is what got Smith to seek refuge at the Pavilion.

• City officials throw a hissy-fit over Bruce’s camera at a city meeting we were invited to by then city councilor Kenny Anderson. Looking back on it now, I just chuckle.

• Former city councilor Dean Karsky and now commissioner elect has become the official endorser in Sioux Falls.

• Bruce and I do a presentation on voter turnout in Sioux Falls at Democratic Forum and one of the mayor’s buddy developers in Sioux Falls tries to shut us down. When he fails, he walks out. Another casualty to transparency.

Should the reputable developers in Sioux Falls hold a press conference?

blueprint

I’ve been told over the years that I am hard on developers in Sioux Falls, and not all of them are bad guys. Okay, I’ll take the bait. I believe it.

I will be honest with you though. I hate urban sprawl, I believe in rebuilding our core and bringing current infrastructure up to par. I am also a big proponent of property rights, especially residential and I think the FREE market should determine what development is necessary. I don’t believe in TIF’s and think if something is needed, it will succeed on its own in that FREE market.

Okay, back to the press conference. I think the ‘good guys’ in the development business in Sioux Falls should have a joint press conference to talk about integrity in development, hiring safe construction companies to do that work, and the future of Downtown Sioux Falls after the building collapse.

Some might say it is too soon to say something until OSHA and other investigations are closed. I don’t believe it is ever too soon to talk about transparency, integrity and safety in the development and construction business.

It’s obvious corners were cut, we already have previous evidence through multiple complaints.

I believe that this message should come from the private sector of development alone. I think if the city, state, attorney general or OSHA want to hold their own press conferences, that’s fine. I think it’s important that these ‘good guys’ in the development business come out on their own instead of being pressured by government and regulation.

Why is this important? I think it is important for responsible developers in this community to separate themselves from the irresponsible, and show that safety and integrity can exist with profits and progress in the free market.

Copper Lounge Collapse, lots of questions little answers

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.

• If the city was aware of construction issues with Hultgren, why wasn’t the Lewis project monitored more carefully, especially after complaints?

• 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.

Was Legacy picked to build the proposed DT city parking ramp?

Well isn’t that the burning question?

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.

Downtown Design Standards Meeting (Nov 29, 2016)

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?