Potential Change In Vision For Phillips to the Falls (H/T – City Hall Watcher)

Tomorrow, at the 7:00 Council meeting there will be a First Reading regarding property that adjoins Phillips to the Falls.  (The Item is not appearing on the agenda) The property borders the west side of Phillips Avenue and has already received the benefit of multiple TIFs.

At the June 5th 2013 Planning Commission meeting, Craig Lloyd appeared to request a conditional use permit for the property.  It is currently zoned C-3 which allows mixed use with residential ABOVE the first floor.  He is asking for consent to develop a four story building with the first floor consisting of 4,416 sq. ft. of commercial space and 17 TEMPORARY dwelling units.

The reason for his request became clear as he was questioned by the Commission.  The Vice-Chair of the Commission, Jessie Schmidt, clarified with Lloyd that the property had originally been planned as ALL commercial on the main floor, but a conditional use permit is being sought because of financing issues.

This is Craig Lloyd’s response,

“Right now DT has more than enough office and retail space VACANT, right around 250,000 sq. ft. vacant DT, and our lenders are not comfortable with having to put a whole bunch more retail.  We went through this process at Uptown, the one that we are just finishing on Main and that’s got residential on the main floor EXCEPT FOR WHAT FRONTS MAIN AVENUE.  We also have the Tri-State Building, by the end of next month most of that main floor will be vacant and the lenders just require us to build residential as much as we can because they can finance it and we can take it to a secondary market, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac who is our secondary market WON’T ALLOW ANYMORE THAN 20% OF YOUR BUILDING TO BE COMMERCIAL, so we’re trying to meet the requirements in those areas.  Looking into the future, because I don’t know how long this will all take to happen, but that’s the reason we’re putting 14 ft. high ceilings on the main floor so that we can convert this at some point in time when the market turns around and the demand turns around to build office space.  We can make a lot more money on commercial than we can residential, BUT IT DOESN’T FIT INTO THE FINANCING PROGRAM.(sic)”

Taxpayers have invested millions of dollars in Phillips to the Falls.  It is designed as a gateway to our City’s namesake and to one of South Dakota’s major tourist attractions.  It was NEVER intended that there be residential housing AT GROUND LEVEL along this important street.   The vacancy rate for commercial property is obviously high in the DT area and it does not appear this is going to turn around soon.  So, this is hardly a TEMPORARY request for a conditional use permit.  It is not the taxpayers responsibility to modify our City’s Vision for Phillips to the Falls so that Craig Lloyd can secure financing for his project!

In addition, he is also requesting that 25 diagonal parking spaces be placed along Phillips Avenue.  This will create the same kind of situation as on South Phillips Avenue with cars backing in and out of traffic.  Is this really what Phillips to the Falls was designed for?

For all of these reasons, I urge the Council to decline this request for a conditional use permit & ask Lloyd to build this of it’s original intent per the TIF he requested.



40 comments ↓

#1 Scott on 06.10.13 at 8:48 pm

I predicted way back in Munson’s days that this would never be the retail extravaganza they all said it would.

#2 Detroit Lewis on 06.10.13 at 8:54 pm

Ironic, isn’t it?

#3 pathloss on 06.10.13 at 10:45 pm

Lloyd is a shady character. DT is not coming back more thsn it has. If no more taxpayer money is diverted and banks are fool enough to lend, any development in this srea should be welcomed. Please, no Huether on a soapbox between Smith’s taking credit for something he had nothing to do with.

#4 Karma on 06.11.13 at 8:33 am

I don’t have a problem with additional development, but I do have a problem with the “change in the plans.” I agree – is the change good for Mr. Lloyd or is it good for DT?

And for all of you that nay say DT – there are large projects in the works – such as the Levitt Pavilion. If you do not know what it is – I suggest you do some research before the rant of “I told you DT wouldn’t grow,” crap that seems to rear it’s ugly head. When you have large projects – things such as retail and development follow.

#5 Scott on 06.11.13 at 9:15 am

I’ve never said that downtown wouldn’t grow or prosper. I have said since the Munson days that this particular project was doomed. Given the giant change in the plans, I believe I’ve been proven correct.

#6 Tom H. on 06.11.13 at 9:44 am

Two comments:

(1) I’m fine with letting the market decide what the optimal use for this space is at this time. (You can, of course, argue whether these considerations are being dictated by the market, or by the quasi-market that Fannie and Freddie have created.) What’s most important for the taxpayers is to get these properties back on the tax rolls as soon as possible (even though our TIF-happy policies will depress our tax collections on these properties for years to come).

I’m glad to hear that they are future-proofing these properties by making them adaptable to future commercial uses. It’s natural that neighborhoods should grow and mature; they’re not always going to pop up out of the ground in final form. If you walked along Phillips Ave 100 years ago, you’d see a lot of residential and single-story buildings that slowly were replaced by bigger, more adaptable structures as the neighborhood grew up. It’s the most natural thing in the world for properties to have multiple uses over their lifetimes. How many buildings along Phillips do you think have only ever been commercial for as long as they’ve existed?

(2)

In addition, he is also requesting that 25 diagonal parking spaces be placed along Phillips Avenue. This will create the same kind of situation as on South Phillips Avenue with cars backing in and out of traffic. Is this really what Phillips to the Falls was designed for?

Awesome! Street parking slows down traffic and keeps the road pleasant. Walking along Phillips downtown is a great experience precisely because the traffic is slow and the pedestrian is prioritized. Remember, streets build value in a neighborhood; roads move vehicles quickly – and no corridor can do both well at the same time.

Street parallel parking shields pedestrians from the flow of traffic, makes the street easy to jaywalk (which is important!), and reduces the need to surface parking lots, which are anathema to a vital district.

Let this neighborhood grow up – don’t demand that it be a finished product from the get-go. Top-down planning produces a lot of half-completed, sub-optimal neighborhoods that never meet their full potential, while organic, market-driven growth will create a vital neighborhood at every stage of its growth. Be patient – downtown wasn’t built in a day, and neither should we expect uptown to be.

#7 Detroit Lewis on 06.11.13 at 9:52 am

Would agree with Tom on this one, I don’t really care if he changes the main floor to residential, the problem I have is that was not what he was proposing for the TIF. I say let him change it, but pull his TIF.

#8 Craig on 06.11.13 at 10:15 am

Tom is spot on. Besides – have you been downtown recently and actually walked around? Vacancies here, vacancies there… several smaller stores have relocated elsewhere due to their need to grow.

The recent auction for the old CNA Surety building didn’t even bring a single bid over the reserve price, and the building is now owned by GE Credit after going into bankruptcy.

What stores are downtown are some eateries that seem to become ghost towns after 5:00pm, various photography and framing shops, art studios, “kitsch” stores, banks, and trendy media and marketing firms – and it seems like a lot of these places don’t last long. The turnover seems a bit high, which means there are always several vacancies available at any given point… thus Lloyd knows full well if he builds commercial property it will sit empty for quite some time.

I enjoy going downtown, but you can only have so many small eateries, coffee shops, art studios, and upper end home decor stores. In time I expect it to continue to evolve and grow and become more vibrant… but it will take years – and that land won’t bring anyone downtown (nor will it bring in tax revenue) while it sits there empty.

#9 anonymous on 06.11.13 at 10:19 am

#6 Tom H. on 06.11.13 at 9:44 am

Tom H., are you a resident of Sioux Falls?

#10 Sy on 06.11.13 at 10:52 am

Tom’s correct and no Uptown isn’t a failure, remember what it was before? The Leavitt pavilion will be a phenomenal addition to downtown that will not only bring free music, but will lock in much needed green space. Here’s the link if you want to learn more:

http://www.levittpavilions.org/

One other problem is the City incentivizes apartment development and not condos. There’s huge demand to own downtown and the more rooftops coming in the more the vacancies will decline as retail and services will follow that action.

They also need to address the rail noise, which will help bring more residents in. The simple fix is to install the rail crossing gates that eliminates the need for the constant horn blaring warnings the trains have to do now.

#11 Tom H. on 06.11.13 at 12:00 pm

@anonymous

Born and raised, although I’ve been living in the Twin Cities since college (about 8 years). I visit often and try to stay up-to-date on the development news. Living in the Twin Cities maybe makes me hold SF to a higher standard, since so much of the development here is of a very high urban standard – quite a ways ahead of where the Sioux Falls planners are.

You could even say that the planners / developers in the Twin Cities are streets ahead of those in Sioux Falls.

#12 Tom H. on 06.11.13 at 12:15 pm

And before everybody jumps on me for comparing apples to oranges (SF to Mpls), let me point out this example:

google maps link

Sioux Falls will never (well, maybe someday) have the same level of activity and development the downtown Mpls, downtown St Paul, or the University of Minnesota area have. However, a lot of the neighborhoods in Minneapolis (like the one that houses the development linked above) are not so different from the core neighborhoods in SF.

Nobody bats an eye at the redevelopment I linked above in Minneapolis (in fact, it’s a well-frequented neighborhood center); I can only imagine the response that such a development would elicit in SF. “Not enough parking!” “Think of the traffic!” “I didn’t move to this neighborhood just so this behemoth could sprout up next to my house!”

Seriously, would something like this be so bad at, say, 26th & Minnesota?

#13 anonymous on 06.11.13 at 12:33 pm

Tom H., thank you for clarifying that you have NOT been a Sioux Falls resident for the past eight years.

In terms of population and all the associated ramifications, Sioux Falls will never be Minneapolis/St. Paul.

The State of Minnesota also has a very different tax structure than the State of South Dakota.

#14 Pathloss on 06.11.13 at 12:36 pm

Downtown is surrounded by slums. Maybe it can come back some as a restaurant and entertainment district but not retail. We need ‘Projects’ in this city for our homeless. This is what will eventually become of the Lloyd developments. He’ll build anything if we pay for it. Like any growing city, Sioux Falls must keep the lower class downtown while the suburbs become middle class favored. Minneapolis is unique because of the university and sports venue. However, even the Nicollet Mall is quiet at night. I dare anyone to venture near the crack stacks (high rise projects) near U of M.

#15 Pathloss on 06.11.13 at 12:39 pm

Even Huether has enough common sense to build his palace out of town.

#16 Pathloss on 06.11.13 at 12:44 pm

Overcompensated city employees live out of town. Our next mayor should live in one of the worst neighborhoods. I would. Then, there are police patrols and his/her evening walks will be diplomacy enticing residents to improve their homes. Not such a bad idea. A new mayor could make money ‘legally’ from home appreciation due to his neighborhood turnaround.

#17 Tom H. on 06.11.13 at 1:40 pm

@anonymous:

If my lack of SF residency has rendered any of my arguments above invalid, I’d be happy to accept the criticism and retract my points. Otherwise, I’ll continue under the assumption that ideas on this forum are to be judged on their merit, rather than the geographical proximity of the poster.

#18 rufusx on 06.11.13 at 2:32 pm

@ anonymous – of no good ideas can come from “foreign” territory to SF, SD – what the “F” are all the Euro’s doing living here in Euro-imitative developments at all? Are you saying at the heart of your attitude that European expansionism into North America was bad? Hey, it’s just another slippery slope, no?

#19 Bond Perilous on 06.11.13 at 2:57 pm

Tom H. is spot on!

Pathloss- I like your idea about MMM having to live central SF. Your pt. on concentrating poverty into projects is antiquated tho, sry to say. Concentrating poverty increases crime rates, institutionalized poverty, reduces surrounding property values and thus the tax base, and erodes people’s sense of community. Integrated neighborhoods work best at lifting people out of poverty (from an urban planning POV).

#20 Bond Perilous on 06.11.13 at 3:01 pm

BTW- I don’t live in SF either (anonymous). Does that invalidate my pt. too?

#21 Tom H. on 06.11.13 at 3:14 pm

To piggy-back off of Bond’s point, it’s also true that prior to the era of White Flight and Urban Renewal, traditional neighborhoods were able to effectively and naturally foster a broad economic spectrum with (relative to today) fewer ill effects.

This all pins on the idea that a traditional neighborhood grows up naturally – starting with smaller buildings, which gradually transition to more intense (and often more ornate) uses as the value of the neighborhood improves. The older stock was natural “affordable housing” (no gov’t intervention required!), while less intense uses (single-family homes, usually) made way for more intense ones. The decline and slumming of older neighborhoods, which we now accept as a fait accompli, has not always been the norm.

There are a couple StrongTowns blog posts which are relevant to this discussion: “Why decline is not normal“, and “Residential maturing“, the latter being a nice pictorial tour through the neighborhood evolution of yesteryear.

#22 Detroit Lewis on 06.11.13 at 3:25 pm

BP – But you used to, and I miss dropping F-Bombs with you at Paramount Lounge. LOL!

#23 Sy on 06.11.13 at 4:05 pm

Actually I think Tom’s residency in a larger, upper Midwest urban zone makes his argument all the more stronger. In those places, they don’t let perception drive the decisions and the backwards thinkers typically don’t win the day.

I only wish when our City leaders visit larger cities to study what they’ve successfully done to create livable & revitalized core areas they actually follow suit.

#24 LJL on 06.11.13 at 9:47 pm

If the market for reality won’t support the zoning of the area then the project isn’t necessary. If he doesn’t want to build it according to the cities design, then he needs to sell the property to someone else who will. These rich cry babies need to be told NO. A Great big sucking sound is coming from these TIF’s.

If I wanted a city to resemble Minneapolis, I would just move there.

I’m still waiting for a TIF for my proposed backyard pool. I’m thinking of changing my name to Dunham or Llyod to make the process easier.

#25 Craig on 06.12.13 at 9:59 am

LJL: As was said last time you used that flawed analogy, as soon as you open up your background pool to the neighborhood so that it benefits more than just yourself, maybe you would have a point.

A TIF does not in any way reduce the amount of property taxes currently being collected. However it does serve as an incentive for a developer to improve the property, address concerns with cleanup, deal with environmental issues, upgrade infrastructure etc. etc.

Yes we can argue not all TIFs are necessary, but the fact is many of these projects simply would not happen without them. These projects create jobs and they INCREASE the tax base as a result of not only the projects themselves, but the sales taxes generated as a result (think of how much money that new downtown hotel will bring in via sales tax receipts), and after the TIF expires in a few years the property taxes are increased based upon the then-value of the property which means a rather substantial increase into the County and School budgets.

Without a TIF, these properties most likely remain undeveloped and we get zero benefit from any tax dollars. If you prefer to see an empty lot then perhaps that is OK, but the reality is if the city is in need of housing, these developments will simply get built on the edge of town where infrastructure is new, land is relatively cheap (in comparison), and the cycle of urban sprawl continues.

Now as far as you whiners go, if you wish to upgrade or enhance your personal property there are programs to allow that to occur with reduced interest loans. Even better, if you stay in the property for two years, much of the original loans for home improvements will actually be forgiven provided you meet the income requirements. There are other rebate programs for improvements such as insulation, siding, HVAC replacements, new toilets, washing machines, irrigation control modules, faucets, windows, doors, and much much more.

So please don’t act like developers are the only ones who have incentives to improve property. Just because some of you are too lazy to look for these programs doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

#26 hornguy on 06.12.13 at 10:22 am

Great arguments, Tom. Couldn’t agree more. The key to reclaiming any urban core ends up being residential development. Great cities understand this implicitly, that it’s not about building a retail district but rather a real, living, breathing neighborhood that happens to have retail.

It’d be great to see the city focused more on that, on ensuring that there’s a good mix of housing downtown – even if it means providing assistance for the development of income-restricted properties that target younger residents and things like artist lofts, etc.

Frankly, if we’re doing residential development with TIF money I’d rather see us supporting those types of projects. Otherwise, the only people living downtown will be old people downsizing, because they’re the only ones who can afford $250k+ for a home. It’ll be Touchmark at All Saints for the more independent senior.

I agree with our host, however, that this bait and switch with the TIF is a bit dicey. At minimum, even if just for the sake of process, it might be worth the council taking a look at that matter.

#27 Sy on 06.12.13 at 11:04 am

Outstanding post Craig.

Remember, every mile of new infrastructure at the edge of town costs significantly more than the last one. You want your community to grow in a balanced fashion and at the proper pace. We pushed too far south and west too quickly when the Mall opened and decisions like not doing an interchange at 57th or extending 49th across to Tea Ellis will forever impede traffic flow. The key to slowing that down is to redevelop the core which will feed off itself as more rooftops = more retail = more services = more office = more rooftops; wash/rinse/repeat = utilizing existing (ie paid for) infrastructure.

#28 LJL on 06.12.13 at 6:42 pm

Again Craig: What part of the new Costco will be public? What part of the Lloyd’s apartment/business building will be public? You think it will be public because you walk into it. Dunham will be reinvest tax monies into the property to improve it’s value and Costco will own the property. Costco is not a public entity. The curb/gutter sidewalks etc. within Costco’s property are not public. The TIF for Dennie’s health club and hotel is the most egregious.
You are correct, money will not be taken out of tax revenue but also tax money will not be collected from this newly improved property.

This is simply picking and choosing who will be favored by the city and who won’t. Corporate welfare in it’s simplest form. There are hundreds of run down properties within the cities core that need massive improvements TIFs make much more sense for these properties rather than an open field and new construction.

If these properties were truly run down or hard to develop I may be able to see a tax break. But there is nothing wrong with the properties being developed. The Costco lot, the Sanford complex and the Phillips Falls area need no rehabilitation. How about if Lloydes want TIFS for apartment buildings than lower income folks should be able to purchase the units at a reduced rates. This way the tax money would truly be used to improve the people of this city. Not the fat cats.

It’s called sarcasm Craig. I don’t want your money for my pool.

#29 Craig on 06.13.13 at 1:26 pm

“Again Craig: What part of the new Costco will be public? What part of the Lloyd’s apartment/business building will be public?”

Who said they would be public? They are privately owned, but the BENEFIT the public by preventing urban sprawl, but redeveloping areas which otherwise were nothing more than empty lots, by cleaning up environmental hazards, by increasing the tax base by not only the projects themselves but by the obvious development which will occur around them (we are already hearing talk about potential impacts near the Costco site that would have never occurred without their arrival).

So yes they do benefit the public in a variety of ways. Obviously we can debate the merits of each TIF and that is fine – I won’t even try to pretend there isn’t room for dissent nor will I say I agree with all of them, but the truth is without some of them these projects simply wouldn’t happen.

Look at Costco for example – that land has sat empty for how many years? It has been nothing more than a grass field, and due to the environmental issues with the property nobody wanted to touch it. So now a TIF allows the developer to go in and clean up that area – remove contaminated soil, upgrade infrastructure, and eventually we have a building that raises property values of the entire area without requiring millions of tax dollars to extend streets or install sewer lines.

Without the TIFs do we really think Costco would still build there? Knowing the cost would be several million dollars more if they had to pay for all of the cleanup and site improvements themselves, it is doubtful. So where do they go? They likely build at Dawley Farm, or perhaps they build on the South side of town. Great – now we extend the city further out, our density drops, property tax revenue may shift to other entities, and the land behind Empire Car Wash remains vacant for another decade or two.

Have you ever wondered why the county and schools aren’t complaining about all of these TIFs? They know full well in the end they are better off with them because they raise property taxes, and the net increase is significant. They spur development, they create jobs, and they raise population density without the added expenses that come with developments on the edge of the city.

“There are hundreds of run down properties within the cities core that need massive improvements”

I don’t disagree – and there have been TIFs in some of these areas. However many of these properties are small scale and a TIF doesn’t make sense. There are other programs in place to address individual properties and vacant lots which are much easier to implement and offer more advantages to those projects. TIFs aren’t really a “one size fits all” solution.

“The Costco lot, the Sanford complex and the Phillips Falls area need no rehabilitation.”

It isn’t always about rehabilitation. However the Costco lot does need a lot of environmental cleanup as it was previously Williams Pipeline and the soils are contaminated. The Sanford complex is undesirable land due to the proximity to the airport (look around the airport and tell me how many nice commercial developments have been built in the past 30 years). The downtown area also needed a lot of cleanup, and since the 80s there simply hasn’t been a lot of desire for people to put large scale developments down there. It has really only been about the past five years that things are turning around.

So what do we see downtown now? We see existing buildings being remodeled and updated. We see new buildings replacing run-down buildings. We see apartment complexes going in where warehouses previously existed. We see more and more people coming downtown to spend time and money that wouldn’t have bothered to do so a decade ago. In addition to all of that, perhaps more importantly we have seen population density of downtown increase dramatically with no need to widen roads or add city block after city block of streets, curbs, and sewer lines to support them. That makes better use of the infastructure we already have in place – and that saves us not only on initial costs, but on maintenance costs such as snow removal, street repair, and even prevents us from having to build new fire stations or libraries or city parks.

I won’t say every downtown project needs a TIF or that every downtown TIF is justified, but I will argue that without a few of them for the larger projects, those sites would not have been developed or the projects would have been delayed significantly. At the end of the day if you know all the facts about the site and if you put personal bias and jealousy aside from those “wealth developers” you can easily see that the net impact is a positive one for our city.

#30 Tom H. on 06.13.13 at 5:24 pm

I’m sorry, Craig, but Costco is just about the epitome of urban sprawl to me. Great that it’s not located on the edge of town, but it’s hard to get excited about a big-box store from an urban design standpoint, no matter where it’s located.

#31 LJL on 06.13.13 at 10:09 pm

Craig… You really have no idea what you are talking about when it comes to the Williams pipeline AKA Coscto lot. It was green feild for many years because it had to be due to EPA regulation.. No cleanup is needed at this site. I know, I was part of a planning committee looking for land for a new warehouse for our business. I sat in a meeting with Dunham realtors and they assured us NO cleanup was necessary. They went so far to even call it a “Greenfield” property. We passed on the property due to it’s cost. It would have never crossed our minds or our morals to ask for a TIF.

Drive to the lot Craig…. No environmental cleanup is underway.

Target’s, Sams Club and all the Walmart’s never received TIF’s. The business’s themselves are not the recipients of the TIF it is the developer and no one is holding a gun to the head of the Lloyd or Dunham forcing them to buy.

The creator of this bog reported months ago. Costco was coming to town and had no intention of asking for a TIF. The only benefactor of the TIF is the person developing and selling the property.

“TIFs aren’t really a “one size fits all” solution.”
Do you know how naive that sounds?

In your own words Craig, move on, your in over your head. I know I’m done on this one.

#32 Craig on 06.14.13 at 8:36 am

Tom: “I’m sorry, Craig, but Costco is just about the epitome of urban sprawl to me.”

By the very definition of urban sprawl I don’t see how it fits. It isn’t pushing the city further to the edges, it addresses the issues with leapfrogging, and based upon the nature of Costco it will be a high density building which would take dozens of independent stores (with dozens of parking lots) to replace.

It probably won’t be the most exciting structure from a design standpoint, but we are going to have big box stores regardless, so they may as well be built near the core of the city rather than the outskirts.

#33 Craig on 06.14.13 at 9:13 am

LJL: “Craig… You really have no idea what you are talking about when it comes to the Williams pipeline AKA Coscto lot. It was green feild for many years because it had to be due to EPA regulation.. No cleanup is needed at this site. I know, I was part of a planning committee looking for land for a new warehouse for our business. I sat in a meeting with Dunham realtors and they assured us NO cleanup was necessary.”

Well it has been reported elsewhere that some cleanup was necessary, so I’m left having to decide whether I trust what has been reported vs. what a guy on the Internet says.

I’ll just leave this here: http://siouxfallsbusinessjournal.argusleader.com/article/20121028/NEWS/310280036/TIF-credited-attracting-Costco

Please attempt to note the “$4.9 million in environmental costs”. While we are at it, we should probably note that the TIF applies to the entire property, not just the piece Costco will sit upon.

Are we starting to see how the TIF has allowed new development here? Are we starting to recognize how it will bring in jobs and raise property values which actually increases the tax base?

The fact is, that site has been an empty field for two decades – there is a reason nobody has been standing in line waiting to build, and it wasn’t due to the proximity of Hobby Lobby.

LJL: “We passed on the property due to it’s cost. It would have never crossed our minds or our morals to ask for a TIF.

Well for starters the developer would propose a TIF if they felt it was a good business decision, and a warehouse isn’t about to get approval for a TIF. A warehouse doesn’t spur economic development in the area. A warehouse doesn’t raise property values for the surrounding area and in some cases could actually lower it.

As to morals – give me a break. If your company thought it could get a tax break, they would try to get the tax break. I don’t care if you work for ABC ACME company distributing Chinese rubber vomit or if you are the Catholic Diocese – when it comes to paying less taxes companies take advantage of every opportunity morals be damned (and since when is a legal tax incentive a moral issue).

LJL: “Target’s, Sams Club and all the Walmart’s never received TIF’s.”

And your point is? Those were new developments in areas that were not previously home to pipelines or old structures. They were “up and coming” areas that didn’t need any incentives for someone to build there because if Target or Walmart passed – someone else would snap up the land and build something else.

Are you seriously suggesting because Walmart and Target didn’t receive TIFs that nobody else should? Really?

LJL: “The business’s themselves are not the recipients of the TIF it is the developer and no one is holding a gun to the head of the Lloyd or Dunham forcing them to buy.”

That is genius logic right there, but the fact is the TIF funds are used to improve or remedy the site. If it wasn’t for that tax advantage, other funds would be used, and as such the price of the property and/or development would increase to compensate.

Or do you actually think Lloyd or Dunham would sell the land for the same price and just absorb those additional costs?

I think you are seriously misunderstanding what TIFs are designed to do. Keep in mind I’ve said numerous times I am not defending every TIF in this city, but a reasonable person can recognize how at least some of them are warranted. Like it or not, our city councilors and department heads actually understand the TIF concept a lot better than you or I – and they aren’t just passing them around so they get invited to the Lloyd Companies Christmas party.

LJL: “The creator of this bog (sic) reported months ago. Costco was coming to town and had no intention of asking for a TIF. The only benefactor of the TIF is the person developing and selling the property.”

Well A: L3wis never said that. What he said was he believed Costco would come to town with or without a TIF and at one point he even said they would likely build at that same site with or without a TIF. That may very well be true, but with no offense intended to DL, he doesn’t have the inside track here, so really he has no idea and that was merely his opinion.

I have no doubt Costco would come to town without a TIF, but would they have built on that same property had the net result been a cost of several million dollars? Maybe – maybe not. Would Dunham still build those apartment complexes, or would that piece of land remain empty? Hard to say.

The fact you honestly believe a TIF only benefits the person selling the property shows us your obvious misunderstanding of how TIFs work.

LJL: “TIFs aren’t really a “one size fits all” solution.”
Do you know how naive that sounds?”

It isn’t naivety… it is a fact. Do you really think a TIF is a solution for a homeowner who wants to put in new windows and add some insulation? Do you really think it is a solution for a new commercial development on a prized piece of highly sought after land with direct access to a major roadway? Nope… thus TIFS are not a “one size fits all solution”.

Might I suggest you look up the term ‘naive’ before attempting to use it in the future?

LJL: “In your own words Craig, move on, your (sic) in over your head. I know I’m done on this one.”

With logic like yours, I can see why you’re done. You’ve shown you don’t understand how TIFs work, you have attempted to distort what others have stated, you have no idea what the public benefit of redeveloped properties are (although you seem to think a warehouse would offer similar benefits to a Costco), and you display an obvious jealousy of those who may be more successful in business than yourself even going so far as to call them names such as “rich cry babies”.

So yes LJL please be done. At this point you aren’t adding anything beneficial to the discussion, just as you didn’t in the past when you claimed “the number of public sector jobs has surpassed the private sector 3 years ago” and “more people work for the goverment (sic) than do business”.

Come to think of it I don’t recall you “manning up” and admitting you were wrong when you made those statements, thus I don’t expect you to do so here either.

#34 CCFlyer on 06.14.13 at 3:21 pm

I just visited Omaha this past week, and analyzed some of the Old Market structures that were being built, as well as a noticed many parts of Midtown Crossing, an up and coming mixed-use development just west of Downtown Omaha.

Not one loft or condominium project in that area had first floor residential, because that’s not the point of a centralized loft or condominium.

The point of Uptown at Falls Park is to have a complete mixed-use development, where they stack residential on top of retail in an outdoor mall style fashion. The point of Uptown was not to have miles of apartments, it’s to create a neighborhood with different restaurants, bars, shops, offices, and other public-use facilities at street level, with residential above it. That is how a city works, and that is how Uptown needs to work.

All of these short-stacked apartment buildings being built Downtown will only last so long. People want the ability to own their own portion of the buildings so they can do what they want with it, and not be limited to the leased unit. Four stories here, three stories there, it really frustrates me how the “demand is so high” for all of these units, yet they continue to build suburban like projects in the heart of our city. That is not how a Downtown works. It’s time these developers stop marketing business owners to the outskirts of the city, and to focus on the benefits of the central part of our city.

#35 l3wis on 06.15.13 at 2:02 pm

CC, love DT, Omaha. You have to understand something about SF development, it is controlled by a handful of players, so instead of being competitive and creative, they go right where the money is. They don’t care about yesterday or tomorrow, just what kind of money I will make today. If I could, I would give Lloyd 2 options. Keep retail on the first floor and keep your TIF, or convert it to apartments, and lose your TIF. I have never understood how the city lets developers to call the shots. I would be like being on trial for murder, and getting to be your own judge and jury.

#36 Craig on 06.17.13 at 10:16 am

I actually agree with l3wis on this one…. although I might take it one step further and say don’t build until you can support retail/commercial space on the ground floor.

I’d love to see this type of development downtown, but I realize the vacancy rate in the area is very high right now so if they did build retail space it will likely sit empty and/or would only collect very low rents below what they could collect being located elsewhere in the city.

If the market won’t support it, then the market won’t support it. I don’t see why they should build something other than the original vision as I really don’t want to see that area become nothing more than a collection of apartment complexes.

If we want a vibrant downtown area with people walking from place to place and something that acts like a draw to pull people down there it cannot be apartments. Apartments don’t draw people downtown other than those who live in them. We meed retail and storefronts and places to eat and music and art that spills out into the streets which gets people excited about spending an evening down there.

Apartment 1A isn’t going to be a community draw even if it includes 14ft ceilings.

#37 Underpaid on 06.18.13 at 5:05 pm

The city had a vision and apartments at ground floor weren’ it. I stilll don’t understand why we need huge biuldings on the phillips to the falls street. Seems like a great place for an arts park that leads you to the falls.

It’s incredible how there is always someone defending welfare for the rich. Makes you wonder who they represent. I’m quite sure Costco built hundreds of stores without tax breaks. I know aprtment building are built all the time without TIF.

Is bullying and trashing others the norm in this blog? I don’t think any of us really know what happens behind the scenes to secure these TIFS and some may be overreaching when defending them. I know for sure that TIFs are being overused under the huether riegn.

#38 Scott on 06.18.13 at 9:17 pm

It would never work as retail, except for little trinket stores or Falls Park memorabilia. The retail area is the other end of downtown Phillips. Those places, while in competition with each other, actually work as a whole attraction. Then you have a handful of blocks of banks/office buildings before you get to the Falls area. Sure, it’s not a major walk but it’s enough that would make the difference between empty retail space and a thriving section of downtown.

#39 Craig on 06.19.13 at 9:18 am

Well Scott it wouldn’t have to be retail, but it should be commercial space. It could be lawyer and photography offices or yet another media company. Maybe a bakery or eatery in there somewhere – it has worked for that pizza place and Oh My Cupcakes (although they are now moving to the Bridges at 57th so perhaps it hasn’t been all that profitable for them).

I agree full retail may not work unless it becomes a cohesive effort to pull large amounts of people to that end of downtown. However we know if they put in apartments it will solidify the fate of the area and it will end up being just another housing complex with no reason to draw people farther North.

That area really needs something to pull people to it. As it stands down, the grass area is used a few times each summer for events, and the remainder of the year the only thing it seems to draw is piles of goose excrement. The trolley just drives on by because there isn’t even a reason to slow down. Surely we can do better.

#40 Detroit Lewis on 06.19.13 at 10:10 am

I knew the day would eventually come that there is only so many ‘yuppie’ businesses you can put DT until you run out of options. If DT was more diverse when it came to entertainment (dance clubs, live music venues, etc.) You might see more retail. You could always keep the current retail on South Phillips DT as is, and turn North Phillips into more of an Urban-artsy area. But what do I know.

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