More City Center II Secrecy

In the "Comments" section of the recent State News article on City Center II (available here: Alice Dreger comments on some information she received from Council Member Nathan Triplett (up for re-election this November).

I contacted Alice and she sent me a copy of an exchange between her and Triplett concerning City Center II. I subsequently sent an email to Nathan, asking if it would be OK to post the full document on PublicResponse. I didn't receive a response from him, so I won't post the document, here.

But, I do feel comfortable pointing out to readers of PR that Nathan Triplett seems to be operating under the same delusions as almost everyone else concerning the bonding for the purchase of the buildings on the east side of Evergreen, those slated for demolition to make way for the City Center II parking garage.

His response to Alice's question concerning the funds that have been spent on "property acquisition" for CCII, Triplett responded: "The Downtown Development Authority has spent $5,495,600 for CCII properties. This includes 303 N. Abbot and 314, 328, 334, 340, and 344 Evergreen."

It should be noted that I asked Nathan for clarification of this statement, but, since he hasn't answered me, no clarification appears to be forthcoming. In any case, I did ask him for clarification concerning his statement that "the DDA spent..."

I suppose it doesn't matter how many times it's repeated, but I'll do it one more time:

The East Lansing Downtown Development Authority DID NOT buy the buildings on Evergreen --the DDA did not spend one dime "of its own funds" (quoting Ted Staton who told the public otherwise). (See: Ted Staton Comments.

The City of East Lansing bought those properties for $5.5m with General Obligation Bond Anticipation Notes (BANs), backed by the full faith and credit of East Lansing taxpayers.

It is true that the City "anticipates" that DDA parking revenue and TIF money will eventually pay off these BANs --that is, the City will float "real bonds" for $34m to support the (non-existent) City Center II "project," and take $5.5m (or so) of that $34m and pay off the BANs, and City Center II will be a rousing success, and Strathmore will actually complete this project, and pay their fair share of taxes, the parking garage will be full all day, every day, and the Sun will rise in the West, and all will be well in the world.

So, if the project gets built (most likely not), and if the commercial space can be rented (most likely not), and the condos can be sold (extremely doubtful)), and the townhouses can be sold (extremely doubtful), and all the rental units can be leased to families and empty-nesters (on what planet?), and the theater can consistently show a profit, and the parking garage will defy all expectations and actually collect enough fees to pay for itself, then, and only then, can this scheme be realized.

But, the "Evergreen Road" BANs are due in April, mere months from now. What is the City going to do? They don't have an extra $6m just laying around. So, can they just "extend" the payment of Bond Anticipation Notes, in "anticipation" of a non-existent project, a phantom, a delusion?

The answer is that the City is in deep shit --and so are the taxpayers.

Maybe Nathan Triplett --or anybody on Council or in City government-- can explain to us how they propose to get us out of this mess. Here's his email address: "Nathan Triplett",