Entries Tagged 'Downtown Sioux Falls' ↓

Railroad Relocation Discussion

Cameraman Bruce and I hope to film this event as part of Design Week in Sioux Falls. Should be a good discussion. Join us!

Sioux Falls City Council should vote against Downtown Parking ramp based solely on what we learned from secret siding settlement

Last night at the city council meeting councilor Pat Starr chastised community development and parking for keeping the council in the dark about the proposed downtown parking ramp. The administration asked for an additional $30K for legal fees before the council has even approved the funding. (FF: 44:00)

This project continues to get delayed, and no one knows why, the public or the council. But they continue to ask for more and more money.

Councilor Starr complained about the secrecy involved, and rightfully so. I think with all of the kerfuffle yesterday about the secret siding settlement this should set a precedent moving forward that the council votes NO on all RFPs they are left in the dark about, as they have with the backroom negotiations with this project.

I think moving forward if the council and public are NOT receiving information about these projects before approving them, they should vote them down and demand transparency.

As I have said, if you are doing business with the public, that becomes public information, whether you are a private developer or not. This secrecy cannot continue, and we can’t wait for a new council and mayor to remedy this massive problem, the council must act TODAY.

Councilor Neitzert misses the mark on the Lloyd TIF

Sioux Falls city councilor Greg Neitzert was doing the 2nd half of his SE Podcast stint this Sunday.

He was asked about TIFs and specifically the Lloyd TIF. He did a fantastic job of explaining how TIF’s work (it is essentially a property tax rebate). He also made great arguments as to why the TIF for UPTOWN II was for good reasons. On the face he is correct. We are using the TIF money to clean up soil, old buildings, asbestos and constructing some minimal public parking. Like I said, on it’s face it sounds like a great use.

But let’s look at reality. First off, we have NOT collected a penny in property taxes on the land for over 11 years. Nothing. Zilch. ZERO.

The TIF (Tax rebate) will last for 13-14 years. We will essentially be getting little to no tax revenue from the property for almost 25 years.

But what makes this TIF controversial is the fact that Lloyd promised to buy this property in 2006 and for some strange reason we let it sit for 11 years, and the only real reason I can come up with is that we were HOLDING it for the developer (with no major retainer of down payment). One developer in a city that has dozens of high profile, successful developers that would have loved to get their hands on that land, some of said that.

I guess I will never know the reason why we held the land for Lloyd Companies (I was looking for it in the Siding Settlement, but couldn’t find it).

I do know this though. Within those 11 years the city did NOTHING to either sell the land, clean up the land (with EPA grants) or even send out any RFPs. Why? Doesn’t it seem strange that while we were getting $27 million in Federal Dollars for a plot of dirty RR land we didn’t set aside a few bucks to clean up this property, put in curb and gutter and parking and sell it?

While Neitzert makes some good points about the usage of TIFs, the deal with Lloyd stinks.

*Also an important note. All of the councilors who voted for the TIF (besides Neitzert) received campaign donations from Craig Lloyd and councilor Selberg earns his living as a broker for the Lloyd Companies (he did not excuse himself). Councilors Starr and Stehly (who have never gotten campaign donations from Lloyd) voted against the TIF.

What is going on with the OSHA investigation of the Copper Lounge collapse?

As you can see, the OSHA investigation case IS STILL OPEN on the Copper Lounge collapse. The fines are being contested and nothing has been paid yet.

But it still leaves a lot of unanswered questions;

• Did or Will the city conduct their own investigation, and is Hultgren Construction paying for the disaster recovery?

• What have the insurance companies determined and will any claims be paid out? To either the victims and their families or to the city.

• Will there be any reimbursements for Downtown businesses that lost business for over a week due to the collapse.

• What repercussions are there for Legacy Development that was tied to Hultgren construction. What happened to the agreement between Lewis and Legacy to build them a new store downtown?

The public has heard very little from the city, the states attorney’s office and the attorney general about what charges may or may not be brought forth. The only government entity giving us any information is OSHA at this point.

I hate to say it, but like the secret siding settlement on the Denty, it looks like the city is looking to sweep this under the rug, or at least keep it off the radar until they can give a contract to Legacy to build a new parking ramp.

Hopefully the parking ramp contract will be voted down and we can start at square one with justice to the victims of the building collapse.

Who authorized the Arc of Dreams placement?

I still can’t figure out who approved the placement of Arc of Dreams? The city council surely hasn’t.

I ask this question now because the piece is almost completed and $1 million in private money has been raised for it.

Some important questions to ask;

Will it be placed on private property (Raven and Cherapa) or city property?

Was there approval from CORP of Engineers since it goes over the river?

Depending on where it is placed (let’s assume city property) who will be paying for it’s maintenance? A large sculpture like this will need regular maintenance.

I have some of these questions into the city council. We will see what answers we get. There just seems to be a lot secrecy surrounding the project.

UPDATE: Minnehaha County Commission has NO objects to Lloyd TIF

Erica Beck from Lloyd Companies with taxpayer compensated Dustin Powers (filled in for Brent) from the City of Sioux Falls did a presentation today to the Minnehaha County Commission about the proposed $4.4 million dollar TIF. (FF to 46:00)

Lloyd Companies is saying they need the TIF for cleanup. But, that is kind of a stretch. Whether they need to clean up contaminated soil OR not, they still have to dig a hole for a parking garage. Instead of the TIF for cleanup, I have suggested FREE tipping fees for the project – the entire project. This wouldn’t cost the taxpayers much and we would still be able to receive full property taxes (approximately $450,000 a year) instead of $8,000 a year for approximately the next 13 years (Life of TIF).

My other suggestion would be for the city to actually contract the removal of the contaminated soil before turning over the land. There would probably be some Federal EPA grants to do this.

Lloyd Companies is maintaining they NEED this TIF to do the project. I find this a little hard to swallow.

Not only did the County Commission NOT object to the project and TIF, commissioner Dean Karsky had to inform the public that Lloyd Companies are the largest property tax payer in the county. I’m not even sure how this equates to being able to get a tax discount. What this tells me is that they have attained an enormous amount of wealth and property, and can certainly float this $44 million dollar project without this corporate welfare. It’s like saying Bill Gates deserves to eat a free meal at the Banquet everyday because he has attained so much wealth.

Once again Karsky defends who butters his bread, the Chamber and their esteemed members.

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

Why not loan money for façade program instead?

The handouts are ending and the crying begins;

A city program that helps historic building owners spruce up downtown storefronts is the latest casualty of Sioux Falls’ sales tax slump.

Rich Brue had planned to used the city’s façade easement program to help pay for improvements to his property at 212-216 South Main Avenue.

Now that he’s ready to start a $2.8 million renovation project, he was disappointed to learn the program’s funding is zeroed out in Mayor Mike Huether’s 2018 budget.

“It’s not something promised, but it’s something that’s been available for renovation of these old historic buildings in downtown Sioux Falls,” Brue said.

Exactly, NOT PROMISED. Besides the fact that it is a handout from taxpayers to developers, one of the bigger arguments against the program is it only applied to downtown historic buildings and not other older structures in Sioux Falls.

But as we already know, developers can AFFORD to make these upgrades themselves;

Brue can’t delay his project in hopes of getting city dollars, so he’ll go without.

“I’ve got obligations to my tenants for timelines in which to finish it,” Brue said. “The façade easement is not going to make or break the project, but it would have helped soften the blow. Construction costs are not cheap.”

If you can’t afford to redevelop a building you bought, maybe you should not have bought it? Why should taxpayers bail out your bad investment decisions?

I’m not totally against government ‘helping’ with these projects though. There are other ways to help besides a handout. Through community development they could get a low interest loan to help with the historical aspects of the building. When I got my community development loan it came with a low interest and after the loan was secured and work was finished the loan was sold to a bank who administered the repayment. We can still have a façade program, we just need to change the way it is paid for.

Mayor Mike talks out of both sides of his mouth once again

How fitting after our Little League team just gets done playing in the LLWS the Mayor appears on the B-N-B show catching softballs from Greg.

Funny how in under 50 minutes the mayor can contradict himself, several times. Whether he is talking about how God has enlightened him or how he continues to fight the Parks Districting idea (doesn’t matter now, that decision is now up to the next council and mayor, your opinion on that is of NO consequence).

But one of the best parts of the interview was when he started blabbing about TIF’s. He said that TIF’s are NOT handed to people’s wives friends. LOL, nope, just to your wife. Mike’s wife invested in an apartment project that got a TIF. And in order to save his ass on it, he had Mark Cotter sign off on the TIF.

He also went on to scoff people (developers) who asked for TIF’s to develop around the Events Center (which ironically has yet to get any development that will stick around). But has NO problem with having taxpayers subsidize a PRIVATE hotel on Elmwood, setting a precedent by putting the taxpayers of Sioux Falls in the lodging business.

But his comments at the beginning of the program and at the end are a doozy. He starts out by defending the TIF for Lloyd’s Uptown project, saying it is needed to clean up this area and make this project a reality. Than at the end of the interview when a caller asks about the Sioux Steel DT property, the Mayor talks about, almost giggling, that he wishes he would have bought DT property early on because it is so valuable now.

So which is it Mr. Ed? Is DT property ‘valuable’ or is it so ‘worthless’ we need to hand out millions in TIF’s to multi-millionaire developers?

I would like to thank the mayor for agreeing with my argument against the Uptown TIF, that the property is SO VALUABLE, why on earth would we be handing out tax incentives?

You would think after 7 years, the mayor would get better at the game? Thank goodness he wasn’t pitching at the LLWS, otherwise it would have been two perfect games against them.

He finishes the interview by talking about his bi-annual South Dakota mayor’s conference he will be attending today in Chamberlain. He talked about how the mayors share ideas. We know Mike, this is where you are rumored to brag about your use of the VETO pen when you have an uncooperative council.

Have fun! Keep sharing your brilliant (fascist) ideas!

Strollers & Dogs; RiverFest 2017

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