Entries Tagged 'Downtown Sioux Falls' ↓

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.

Even with possible civil suit looming, city still in bed with Legacy

There were two letters to the editor today in the Argus Leader over Legacy’s relationship with the city.

First from a constituent;

Hultgren Construction, co-owned by Aaron Hultgren, was fined by OSHA for work it was doing on the Copper Lounge building at the time of its collapse. Asked whether the city reconsidered partnering with Legacy as a result of these fines, Darren Ketcham, community development manager for the City of Sioux Falls said, “Hultgren Construction is not part of this project.” That statement could be misleading if Legacy is linked financially to Hultgren.

Nevertheless, Legacy Development is ultimately responsible for the safety of everyone living and working on their property and safeguarding the integrity of what was once a contributing building to the Downtown Historical District. It failed at both. How then did they become the city’s choice as its partner in the proposed parking lot and how does the city justify their decision?

Nutty? Right? How does a development company that has ran roughshot over DT development get awarded such a RFQ without greasing some palms?

Councilor Stehly also responds to concerns over Legacy;

This proposal would be a unique collaboration, with tax dollars supporting the parking ramp and a private investor (Legacy Development), building the outside retail structure. We have been told that the city’s share in this could be more than $18 million. We have also been told that it could create 200-300 new parking spaces. This is a very expensive parking proposal. There are questions about who will maintain the structure of this building and what liability the city would have if the private businesses would not be able to support their part.

Even if we did get 300 spaces for public parking, that is 3x more then what a normal parking ramp space costs (Aprox $20K). Even with all the controversy surrounding Legacy, why on earth would taxpayers want to pay $60K per parking space, when the going rate for a stand alone parking ramp is $20K.

The Sioux Falls city council (6 of them) need to wake from their deep sleep and realize this proposal is bad for tax payers in every shape and form. It costs too much, it’s the wrong location, the funding effects our 2nd penny, and the developer may be sued in a wrongful death suit. Any councilor or elected official who would vote for such a horrible plan has to be stark raving mad.

The Lawsuits have begun over the Copper Lounge collapse

Now the city is involved, I would suspect Legacy might be next.

Downtown Sioux Falls Private Partnership with parking ramp is a horrible idea, and gets worse by the day

During the Sioux Falls city council informational meeting yesterday, community development did a presentation to council for the new DT parking ramp. I responded at public input last night at the regular council meeting on how baffling it is that a majority of the council supports such a poor plan.

What troubles me is that the plan sounds worse and worse each day, yet the city council gets stronger with it’s support.

Only councilors Stehly and Starr oppose it. Starr doesn’t like the idea we are spending $18 million for only 190-240 parking spots. Stehly takes issue with the investors and Legacy development.

Some things I pointed out, piggy backing off of what Starr and Stehly said earlier at the informational meeting;

  • Why do we need to use the CIP, 2nd penny fund as collateral for the bond? Why not use the other parking structures we own as collateral?
  • Why even go into private partnership with Legacy when we would get more parking spaces for less if we built it stand alone. The city has already admitted we need more parking DT. Why spend almost $100,000 a space when we could spend $20,000 a space? Recently the SF Airport proposed spending that amount on parking spaces for a parking ramp they are proposing for $22 million and 1,100 spaces.
  • If we NEED to go into private partnership with a private developer, why choose Legacy? Even though they are not part of the OSHA investigation and fines, they still could be included in a civil wrongful death suit due to their ties to Hultgren Construction. Why get in bed with that?
  • And one of the most glaring parts of the informational meeting is what was said about investors. At first, community development director, Darin Ketchum says that NO city employees, elected officials or their families or spouses are investing in the project. So Stehly asked Ketchum, “Do you know WHO the investors are.” Ketchum reponds “No.” HUH!? How can you guarantee no city investment from employees when you don’t have a list to compare to? While I am willing to believe that NO city employees are investing, I do think Ketchum is lying about the investor list, I think him and his partner in crime, city attorney Fiddle-Faddle have seen the investor list.

So when will the insanity stop? Will more then two councilors get on board to stop this project before it is too late?

Poetry Reading

There will be a group of poets reading their stuff  Saturday May 6th at 7 PM at Zandbros in downtown Sioux Falls. The reading celebrates the release of the recent Scurfpea Publishing poetry anthology, I Walked by the River

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.

UPDATE: OSHA investigation nearing the end?

UPDATE: Even though there was 28 citiations worth $100k handed over to Hultgren, it seems Legacy is probably off the hook due to being a LLC. It doesn’t mean there still couldn’t be civil suits against Legacy or even the city for that matter (for having knowledge of what was going on). Either way, IMO, the city should not allow Legacy anywhere near a public partnership with the city. Just by showing bad judgment in allowing such an unsafe construction company to work on it’s projects (several of them) tells me we need to send Legacy packing on the parking ramp and all future projects. We will see if the council has the cojones to see the same thing.

ELLIS & SNEVE from the ARGUS discuss the fines.

While this is under way (I heard there was about 50 subpoenas handed out) Stehly is fighting for the identity of investors of the DT parking ramp;

City Councilor Theresa Stehly wants to know who stands to profit from a city-backed, mixed-use development in downtown Sioux Falls.

Yet the giant secrecy of MMM’s Iron Curtain exists;

It’s not the first time a city councilor has called for greater transparency in the city’s public-private partnerships. In 2014, then City Councilor Greg Jamison unsuccessfully pressed for an ordinancerequiring investor disclosure in developments that receive tax increment financing from the city.

Jamison’s request followed an Argus Leader Media investigation that revealed Mayor Mike Huether and his wife had invested in real estate deals that required city approval.

And what would make us think anything has changed since?