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Isthmus on Edgewater

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Re: Isthmus on Edgewater

Postby snoqueen » Wed Nov 09, 2011 9:36 pm

A whole lot of developers do projects without ever trying for TIF funding. I don't think they're being irresponsible. Some projects are such an obvious good fit for the conditions at hand they don't need to scratch so hard to get the backing they need.

Which says a lot about this one.

I don't mean to jump all over Ducatista, who's been perfectly fair in her defenses of the Edgewater plans. But why is this project not gaining the financial support it needs on its own merits, from private sources?
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Re: Isthmus on Edgewater

Postby Ducatista » Thu Nov 10, 2011 9:38 am

You're not jumping, sno, thanks. But you owned your own business, right? Or were an independent contractor? I'm surprised you don't see that since there's a risk-minimizing offer on the table (or near the table, at least), Dunn/Hammes would be remiss to shrug and say "OK, there's some objection to this, so we're not gonna push for it."

As I said earlier, I hope they don't get it. I'd rather Hammes take the risk than me. But the fact that they're pushing for it makes me more confident in their judgment, not less.
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Re: Isthmus on Edgewater

Postby other i » Thu Nov 10, 2011 10:04 am

Ducatista wrote:...the fact that they're pushing for it makes me more confident in their judgment, not less.


And how does the fact that we might give it them make you feel about our judgement?
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Re: Isthmus on Edgewater

Postby snoqueen » Thu Nov 10, 2011 10:49 am

I've been both an independent contractor and a small business owner, so I get what you're saying...with qualifications.

Dunn apparently owns his own business, too. I'm not sure what type of corporation it is, whether he's got others on board or it's all his. Maybe someone else knows that.

...since there's a risk-minimizing offer on the table (or near the table, at least), Dunn/Hammes would be remiss to shrug and say "OK, there's some objection to this, so we're not gonna push for it."


He's got a number of options, I would hope, in piecing together his financing. If he can get a certain amount of assistance from the city, he's entitled to apply. And we're obligated to make our best judgment as to how we allocate our funds. All fair.

I object to the way he went about it, which according to several published reports was in contravention to established city procedures. And he's put little or none of his own money on the table, according to other Madison newspapers reports. He's protected by his LLC and the amount is small compared with the total and with the TIF request. I don't know if he's got business partners or not, but if he does they're entitled to invest with him on the basis of his business practices coinciding with their own preferences.

In contrast, on the Gorman Co project in the 800 block of E Wash, that company offered to put a lot more of their own money into the game, which shows that's a viable alternative. The TIF on 800 was eventually denied, but the overall picture on that project was completely different from what I see at Edgewater. I ended up feeling a degree of respect for that developer, who put himself at risk and still knew where he wanted to draw the line. In public at least he showed respect for the process and treated the citizen committees like gold, and he hasn't poisoned the well if he wants to try another time in Madison. Edgewater/Dunn has done the opposite. This leaves a bad taste.

As I said earlier, I hope they don't get it. I'd rather Hammes take the risk than me. But the fact that they're pushing for it makes me more confident in their judgment, not less.


We agree on sentence #1 and #2 here. Sentence #3 is a judgment call on how somebody should run their business, how aggressively they should push to use other people's money before dipping into their own and should struggle against established city practices instead of working with them. I guess it's all a matter of style, and of degree.

I ended up with a lot of respect for the way McGrath tried to work with the neighborhood associations on the terminally-stalled Union Corners project. He put a lot of money into that one, doing soil remediation and planning. The marked crashed on him and he lost a bunch of money. Dunn isn't positioning himself to lose much more than what he's dumped into planning if he doesn't get his TIF funds (unless somehow the money appears from private sources, which will make us all look like fools for playing along with him for a year).

So dollar for dollar, Dunn comes out ahead in the comparison but I still don't care for his business practices. I speak as a citizen not a banker, and both are legitimate viewpoints. Stuff like that comes back to bite you over the years. Who says this hotel will succeed? The market hasn't gotten a chance to weigh in, and maybe there's a good reason for that.

Damn. I promised myself I wouldn't write another Edgewater post, too.
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Re: Isthmus on Edgewater

Postby rabble » Thu Nov 10, 2011 11:03 am

Ducatista wrote:As I said earlier, I hope they don't get it. I'd rather Hammes take the risk than me. But the fact that they're pushing for it makes me more confident in their judgment, not less.

That makes me very sad. It looks to me like you're condoning the act of taking as much as you can, consequences be damned, as long as you can get away with it.

You hope they don't because that would be bad, but the fact that they would harm the community for profit is fine with you, because that's what they do and you approve of good work even when that work is against your own best interests.

Maybe that's not what you're saying. I sure hope so.
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Re: Isthmus on Edgewater

Postby Huckleby » Thu Nov 10, 2011 12:36 pm

Stu Levitan wrote: You're confusing a strong prediction that the Mayor would veto with an "urgent call to veto".

You said he would be derelict in his duties if he dared not cast a veto. This is an urgent call.

Stu Levitan wrote:Yes, there is only one position that the Mayor can take if he wants to uphold the TIF policies and procedures the Council had already adopted.

Variances are part of normal government operation. There's nothing wrong with the council supporing $16M TIF if they believe it is in public interest. Again with the one-sided absolutism.

You seem to imagine that you are standing on some moral high ground with your strict adherence to codes. What BS, you are like everybody else who has passionate position, you want government to operate in a manner that produces a satisfying result.

Stu Levitan wrote:And I strongly disagree with your assertion that a majority of the public favors $16m in TIF. Do you have any meaningful data to support that claim?

No, I think public has likely moved on the specific issue of TIF, they probably support Soglin's hard bargaining. In general, the public supports the project going forward. You wish to kill it by any means within the law. I don't fault you for that position, but you ought to fess up. I'm the same way when I believe strongly in something.

BTW, I wanted to create a poll on TIF, but it seems we can't do that. Joyce, can I have the keys?
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Re: Isthmus on Edgewater

Postby green union terrace chair » Thu Nov 10, 2011 2:45 pm

Huckleby wrote:You seem to imagine that you are standing on some moral high ground with your strict adherence to codes. What BS, you are like everybody else who has passionate position, you want government to operate in a manner that produces a satisfying result.

I think the satisfying result comes about when government follows the rules it creates for itself, not when it pushes forward on some project that requires them to create multiple exceptions to those rules. Then the next developer comes along and, quite rightly, demands those same exceptions. What's the point of having those rules in the first place?

BTW, I wanted to create a poll on TIF, but it seems we can't do that. Joyce, can I have the keys?

Were you trying to do it within this thread? I believe you can only create a poll when you start a new thread.
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Re: Isthmus on Edgewater

Postby Ducatista » Thu Nov 10, 2011 3:41 pm

rabble wrote:That makes me very sad.

Sorry to bring you down, rabble. Hope this helps: I don't want Hammes to harm the community.

Hammes and I both want the Edgewater development to happen, and we each want it to cost us as little as possible. For Hammes, that means maximum TIF. For me, that means minimum TIF.

The council is charged with protecting my interests as a resident and taxpayer, so I want them to cough up no more TIF than necessary to make the project happen.

other i, I don't know where the sweet spot is, so I can't answer your question. I just hope we land in the right spot.

sno, I have a great deal of respect for Todd McGrath, too. (I think his Q factor is unusually high for a developer.) I was comfortable with the $5 million in TIF authorized for Union Corners, and I was sorry to see the project die.
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Re: Isthmus on Edgewater

Postby Huckleby » Thu Nov 10, 2011 11:04 pm

green union terrace chair wrote:I think the satisfying result comes about when government follows the rules it creates for itself, not when it pushes forward on some project that requires them to create multiple exceptions to those rules. Then the next developer comes along and, quite rightly, demands those same exceptions. What's the point of having those rules in the first place?

exceptions are part of the rules. the exceptions have to follow law.
The value of exceptions is obvious. Rules for creating them difficult & slippery.

green union terrace wrote:
BTW, I wanted to create a poll on TIF, but it seems we can't do that. Joyce, can I have the keys?

Were you trying to do it within this thread? I believe you can only create a poll when you start a new thread.

thanks, you are now an enabler if poll proves to be dumbass.
I've never seen any mention of polls when I've started threads, but i am not always so observant.
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Re: Isthmus on Edgewater

Postby lukpac » Thu Nov 10, 2011 11:27 pm

Huckleby wrote:exceptions are part of the rules. the exceptions have to follow law.
The value of exceptions is obvious. Rules for creating them difficult & slippery.


There are exceptions and there are exceptions. It seems like in the case of Edgewater, the rules aren't being bent, they are being obliterated. From the article linked earlier:

That's the uncomfortable question alders will have to answer during budget deliberations next week, thanks to Mayor Paul Soglin's move to slash the $16 million in tax incremental financing promised in 2010 to $3.3 million in his proposed budget. Soglin says the city can no longer afford to give the redevelopment project more than what it would warrant if normal city TIF policy had been followed. (The city's "50 percent rule" warns against giving a subsidy that equals more than 50 percent of the tax increment, or additional property taxes, the project is expected to generate. The new increment is used to pay back the city's initial investment. In the case of the Edgewater, $16 million is more than 240 percent of the Edgewater's projected increment.)


http://host.madison.com/ct/news/local/g ... 002e0.html
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Re: Isthmus on Edgewater

Postby Henry Vilas » Sun Nov 13, 2011 4:01 pm

Does this mean it's a done deal?

Developer Robert Dunn has secured private financing and expects to sign a construction contract next week, his last obligations to accessing $16 million in city assistance for the $98 million redevelopment of the historic Edgewater hotel.
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Re: Isthmus on Edgewater

Postby lukpac » Tue Nov 15, 2011 9:40 am

Edgewater = Rockefeller Center:

Madison will love new Edgewater

This isn't just a fancy hotel for visitors, although they'll surely enjoy it, too. This project will create a beautiful public terrace overlooking Lake Mendota that's comparable to the Monona Terrace on Lake Monona. It will include a dramatically improved public lakefront and pier.

And in winter, as the latest rendering of The Edgewater redevelopment shows, a skating area on the order of the iconic Rockefeller Center rink in New York City will operate.

There's so much for local residents to like about this project, including the demolition of the hotel's outdated, 1970s facade and the historic renovation of its original tower.
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Re: Isthmus on Edgewater

Postby Bad Gradger » Tue Nov 15, 2011 10:02 pm

lukpac wrote:Edgewater = Rockefeller Center:

Madison will love new Edgewater

And in winter, as the latest rendering of The Edgewater redevelopment shows, a skating area on the order of the iconic Rockefeller Center rink in New York City will operate.

Except that, as the Cap Times points out, the skating rink and much of the terrace won't be "public" at all, but subject to closure at will.

Between this latest batch of misleading marketing and Dunn dragging his feet on financing, I'm really turning against the project.
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Re: Isthmus on Edgewater

Postby Huckleby » Tue Nov 15, 2011 10:21 pm

Whenever you read any article in Wisconsin State Journal on Edgewater, you think that the wonderful project is a done deal.

After reading a Cap Times piece - the boondoggle is sure to die.
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Re: Isthmus on Edgewater

Postby lukpac » Wed Nov 16, 2011 1:31 am

Word on The Facebook is the vote tonight failed, 10-10.
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