Entries Tagged 'Development' ↓

We all Scream for Ice Cream

You were probably asking the same question I was. Why on earth would Sioux Falls build a blast freeze refrigerate warehouse at Flopdation Park when our main industries are Banking and Healthcare?

Remember, we are spending over $50 million of Sioux Falls and South Dakota taxpayer’s money on infrastructure at Flopdation Park. Please tell me how a big refrigerator that may produce a handful of warehouse jobs is getting value for our expense?

Oh, and it gets better when you find out who might be using this big fridge.

Look no further than Iowa. I guess one of the nation’s largest ice cream makers has been facing a ‘space’ problem. So instead of building more warehouse space in their own state, taking on the capital expense and HIGH property taxes, why not ship it all to Sioux Falls and lease cheap space in South Dakota.

Once again we are a place to avoid taxes for the rich while spending the people’s meager tax funds.

The Iowan ice cream makers, the investors, the developers, the contractors and the bankers all cash in on the taxpayer’s investment, and what do we get? about 3 dozen warehouse jobs.

Sounds like a good trade off to me.

Is there a bigger reason why Legacy’s investors are being kept secret?

I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise that the investor list for Legacy is probably some pretty big wheels in town that wield pretty big swords.

Recently Legacy was announced to be a part of the first project at Flopdation Park, a gigantic warehouse freezer that will employ a handful of forklift operators.

While none of the actual investors came forward, a group of banks were quite eager to say who they were involved with this project. I guess when it isn’t an actual fuddy-duddy rich person but OUR money we have invested in those banks, it’s okay to tell everyone.

Rumor around town is that a guy who recently sold his quite lucrative burger making business and got involved in health clubs and golf courses is one of the investors in Legacy. But I guess we will never know since that investor list is probably locked up in the same place as Richard Benda’s autopsy report and death certificate.

UPDATE: Mayor Pretends Cart is behind the horse on DT Parking Ramp Project

Our mayor of all he thinks is back giving us lessons in storytelling or is it just more storytelling? We have another geriatric Shut-up and Listen session.

As the S&L session moves along watch where da mayor takes both mics so no one can interrupt or ask unwanted question? Is he afraid of these fine seniors he must control everything as his plans are asked about? Watch for it when he talks into both microphones during the chat with 103 year old Melba. The distortion is him talking out of both sides of his mouth? You be the judge?

Da mayor likes to remind everyone he is being open and transparent in his decisions such as when he discusses his new parking ramp idea. Well it really isn’t an idea anymore, he has already spent quite a bit of money on it (even though he says nothing has been spent). He has already selected his special partner (Legacy) to manage it even though he must have forgotten his February announcement presser (we didn’t). He has also hired the builder, the designers and the architects.

Gee whiz, what have we forgotten here? Oh yes, the City Council has not given the go ahead for it yet but are they just push-overs anyway so who cares, right? Besides, there is only one voter who matters in any of this building being built for the bonding agencies, da mayor himself. It appears da mayor is planning for a group of going away parties for April and May of 2017. He must get this ramp done to prove a bully can push one more enormous debt on the city books for the rest of us to pay for.

2 decisions made in 2007 must not be stopped before da mayor leaves office. Run roughshod over anyone or thing in his way before the exit door hits him where… Well you know.

Sioux Falls needs to do more to save it’s core

If I was running for mayor, one of my main legs on my campaign stool would be revitalization of the core. If tackled correctly, it could accomplish many goals. Not only making our core look and feel better, but it would help to reduce crime, create more affordable housing and in turn produce economic growth. It seems the city’s solution is spending our tax dollars tearing stuff down and rebuilding new which isn’t very cost effective at all;

The home is slated for demolition next week, with plans to rebuild a single family home on the lot.

Thanks to federal funding, the newly built home will eventually be sold to a lower income family. It’s all part of the Neighborhood Revitalization Program, which is funding 10 such projects this summer in an effort to improve the local housing stock and add to the city’s pool of affordable housing.

While this may sound all fine and dandy, you could probably take that same amount of money, disperse in a different way and do 4x the amount of projects. How? Like I said, if I were mayor I would reorganize community development. I would have two full-time staff dedicated to knocking on doors in our core and identifying homes and rental property that could benefit from community development loans and federal grants (I received both shortly after I bought my home, and it was a fantastic experience that I would recommend to anyone buying an older home that needs some TLC). I would also change the TIF program for what it is truly intended for, creating affordable housing out of blighted properties. I would give landlords and individual homeowners who are willing to fix up old properties an opportunity to apply for property tax abatement.

Like I said, this process could be very simple and would produce better neighborhoods while producing economic growth. Giving TIF’s to sprawling apartment buildings or luxury condos just doesn’t cut it. Just imagine if we took the millions in TIFs and spread them out to hundreds of homes and smaller unit apartment buildings, the impact that would have?

The problem is big development has a chokehold on our city government right now, they have them by the balls. Just look at the DT parking ramp or Flopdation Park, we are spending close to $50 million dollars on infrastructure that does almost ZERO to rehabilitate what we already have in our core, and while it is not a total waste, it certainly doesn’t make economic sense.

Why do you think the city wants to crack down on rental registry? They want to squeeze the little guy out by seizing their property thru code enforcement and handing it over to the big guys. Every one that I have spoken to who own small rental properties that have registered have been bothered by mailings and phone calls to sell their property to a major developer. Is the city selling or giving away this information? Makes you wonder?

The next administration and council need to work with the little guys to help clean up our core and let the big developers play on their own, they are certainly not going anywhere, and they will survive with out our corporate welfare. It’s time to get back to the basics.

Stehly talks parking ramps & the AL ED board agrees

Theresa is featured on Jon Michael’s Forum this week.

The Argus Leader editorial board also gets on board with Stehly and her feelings on the parking ramp;

“Taxpayers have a right to know who the city is getting into bed with,” Stehly said.

She’s got a point. While other members of the council are often at odds with Stehly, this is one instance where they should reconsider their stance and lend support.

Even our local paper is seeing through the charade.

Should Sioux Falls do its road construction projects at night instead?

Mayoral candidate and delicious vegan cookie maker, David Zokaites spoke at public input this past Tuesday, and he asked an interesting question, that I have often pondered myself, “Why don’t we fix the roads in SF at night during the summer.”

Other major cities do this with some success, but the cons seem to outweigh the pros;

Safer for workers (and commuters) some argue that it isn’t due to impaired drivers on the road at night.

Less delays for commuters during day

Less hassle for businesses on route

Cooler to work (avoid UV rays, skin cancer)

Less time for partying (not sure if there is any research on this, but I do know road construction people like beer)

Instead of paying out bonuses, use extra money to pay differential and setup flood light systems.

During David’s testimony, the Mayor’s mic was hot, and you could over hear him mocking David’s proposal. This of course would probably require an ordinance change, which is kind of like pulling teeth. As councilor Stehly recently said, it seems our ordinances (and charter) are setup to protect the city from citizens instead of protecting citizens from the city(s abuse).

I think this is worth the city experimenting with.

VP of Major Developer argues with me over rental registry

READ the comments.

The funny part is that I don’t think asking rental property owners to register is unconstitutional. I take issue with searching property that doesn’t register. While the city ‘claims’ they will get a warrant to search an unregistered property, it is a stretch to say they can search a property because someone didn’t fill out a city form. The city has been busted several times searching people’s property without warrants. I see an opportunity here for abuse and unlawful search based on a bogus city ordinance. The proposal has already been thrown out by the Land Use Committee, but it doesn’t stop Mr. Point from arguing with me about it’s constitutionality. I’m not the only one who questions it and property rights afforded by our constitution.

As I point out at the end of our discussion, the big guys in town want to regulate out the little guys, and they want the city to do their dirty work for them.

Is Legacy so intertwined with government we can’t boot them from the parking ramp project?

First Fiddle-Faddle does his best bang-up cracker-jack job of defending their investors;

Pfeifle said another protection the city has against improper investors is inherent in how the project will be financed. It’s assumed Legacy Developments will be financing at least a portion of the construction costs. Ignoring a state law barring the improper investing in a project, Pfeifle said, could jeopardize it and void it entirely, preventing the financier from getting its money back.

Yeah, we don’t need to see the investor list, we can just ASSUME they are doing the right thing.

Then I also see Legacy has their fingers in the newly announced Win Chill warehouse at Flopdation Park;

Win Chill, a refrigerated food storage and distribution center facility, will be built on a 54-acre parcel at Foundation Park. Legacy Development CEO Norman Drake said the facility will provide cold-storage for food companies in order to ship products to and from Sioux Falls and surrounding areas.

Besides the fact that we are allowing a development company that may be sued over the Copper Lounge collapse to build our DT parking ramp, and now benefit from over $30 million in infrastructure from taxpayers, Mayor Huether went on to say at the press conference reveal that this warehouse will produce good paying jobs.

Nothing wrong with warehouse work, it’s an honest living, but I would be shocked to see if they pay forklift operators $18-20 per hour. Even if it did, I’m not sure spending $30 million in infrastructure is worth the 35 or so jobs this place will produce.

Once again, our state and city leadership, in partnership with some questionable developers (who don’t use union labor for their projects) suckered the taxpayers out of millions for some corporate pigs benefit.

Another Bar Napkin contract OR the real deal this time?

Rumor has it they have an actual committed tenant for Flopdation Park. Hopefully they have an actual signed purchase agreement this time, instead of a handshake and a wink;

The Sioux Falls Development Foundation will make what it’s calling a major announcement Friday involving Foundation Park.

Remember, as of right now, South Dakota and Sioux Falls taxpayers have committed over $30 million to this project so far in infrastructure costs. We have a stake in this process. Will the Development Foundation deliver this time? And if they secured a new business for the area, will it provide over 50-100, living wage jobs?

It seems a majority of Sioux Falls city councilors are still moving forward with Legacy developing DT parking ramp

Councilors Starr and Stehly are not buying it though, and questioning investors;

“There will be zero conflicts of interest. They’ve made a commitment since day one and it was part of the request for qualifications that they can’t have any conflicts with city employees,” Ketcham said. “They will not accept any city participation.”

There is also a partnership between Legacy Development and Aaron Hultgren, whose company, Hultgren construction was fined roughly $100,000 by OSHA on Monday for the downtown building collapse, which killed 24-year-old Ethan McMahon, where the new mixed use parking ramp would be built.

Hultgren is an employee at Legacy and the site of the building collapse, which Hultgren Construction, LLC had been working on at the time of the collapse, had been sold to Legacy by Tim Kant, the owner of the Copper Lounge, in 2015.

When asked whether there was any sort of reconsideration about the partnership between the City and Legacy Development as a result of the building collapse in December 2016, or in the past 24 hours as a result the fines imposed by OSHA, Ketcham only said Hultgren Construction wasn’t involved in the project.

Besides the fact that Legacy has financial ties to Hultgren construction and has used them on several projects, somehow they seem to think they can wash their hands of the tie with the new parking ramp because they are using a different construction company.

Hey, I say, use the different construction company, the engineers and architects, but DO NOT allow a development company with such poor judgment to manage the project.

Also, the FINAL judgment and REPORT from OSHA does not get released until June, and that’s when the civil suits could rear their head. Could Legacy be on the hook for damages? We don’t know, and this ‘not knowing’ is a good enough reason for the city to find a different RFQ for this project.