Mourning Loss of Mackerel Sky // Eliot Singer

Mackerel Sky - East Lansing - Street Shot

I was saddened to see that Mackerel Sky will be closing, after celebrating 30 years. I met Tom and Linda in 1980, right after we first moved to Michigan, when they were co-owners of Brother Gambit, back when downtown East Lansing had a vibrant small, locally-owned, business community, which we regularly patronized, despite, at the time, living in west Lansing. There was still such a community, as well as vibrant historic neighborhoods and the top local school system, when we chose to buy a … Read more →

High rises… (re: Development Updates around East Lansing) // Thomas Greer

Park Place Development - Proposed - East Lansing, Michigan

I was born and raised in East Lansing… Walking to dinner in downtown the other night,

6:45 to 7:00 PM bright sun in the west… not a sliver of it on any part of Albert Ave.. Dreary cold shadows… Is this Progress PEOPLE???  no sunlight making it to our streets  during How many months each year??? Do we really need this new development and especially these 12 story buildings How is this going to help the people of E.L. The TAX paying citizens of … Read more →

Property Taxes Still Not Paid for Dublin Square // Eliot Singer

Dublin Square building - East Lansing

According to City of East Lansing Assessment and Tax information, 327 Abbott Road, LLC, has yet to pay its summer 2018 real property taxes of $41,779.30, now plus interest, since August 31. This is the real property for Dublin Square.

Authentic Properties, LLC, owes $11,010.80 in summer 2018 personal property taxes, plus interest.

I have not checked whether past taxes referred to Ingham County have been paid, but the point is moot.

It is a violation of the city charter to do business with … Read more →

Possible Settlement with City Center II Developer? // Eliot Singer

City Center II Rendering

From the latest ELi story on the Project Formerly Known As City Center II, it appears DRW, the big-league Chicago day-trader, is going to settle with the former developer, in order to put an end to litigation and get those $10 million legacy MBT credits and brownfield money.

The MBT credits and 2008 brownfield were assigned to the lender and there is no evidence they were ever returned to PDIG/CCTP in the Cuyahoga settlement. There is also no evidence the lender assigned the credits … Read more →

Latest Tax Giveaway for Project Formerly Known As City Center II // Eliot Singer

City Center II Rendering

1) Revelation that DRW/Convexity was going to ask for a brownfield waited until after the vote on income tax.

2) There will be no money to pay for public services for the project for the duration of the brownfield (which could have been spread out longer, at 50/50 tax increment, if any tax diversion is warranted). I see there has been another shooting in the Grove St. garage, and with reduced property tax millage, the contribution toward public safety from the DDA TIF district … Read more →

Latest News on Lotto 1 Project // Eliot Singer

Center City Blueprint

In response to “ Fire Marshal Review Missing …”:

Failing to follow proper procedure is same-old, same-old, for East Lansing development projects. Council, city manager, city attorney, and planning department have long been way in over their heads trying to tackle big projects, especially since their number one objective is to get new buildings up, not to protect the public interest. Obviously, failing to check fire safety is incredibly irresponsible, but these are basically the same people (minus Triplett) who fast-tracked approval of St. Anne’s Lofts after the … Read more →

More on serial tax delinquencies // Eliot Singer

Because it sounds like this Dublin Square thing is another hurry-up, no-scrutiny deal, I thought I’d better get the facts out faster than ELi can do a story.

For those who have forgotten or missed earlier episodes: No, not everybody does it. In my many years of perusing records, I am only aware of three would-be developers who use tax delinquencies as a cash flow strategy. One in Lansing, exposed by MLive if I remember correctly, admitted he used not paying taxes on time … Read more →

Refinancing the Evergreen Bonds // Eliot Singer

Something else that was mentioned in the ELi story about the Dublin Square project was the DDA wanting to refinance the bonds for the Evergreen properties.

We went round and round about this for years and years. City officials, with DDA approval, did something incredibly stupid issuing those bonds in 2009 to buy properties at 3 times market value when the economy was in collapse and with a developer who should never have been allowed within a million miles of public money. Rather than … Read more →

Another Developer with Persistent History of Tax Delinquencies Is Seeking a Major East Lansing Project // Eliot Singer

At the top of the list of reforms to make public-private development credible is preventing anyone with a history of fraud, tax delinquencies, mortgage defaults and foreclosures, etc. from receiving tax incentives or otherwise engaging in partnerships or dealings with government. This not only limits moral risk—remember East Lansing has done brownfield projects with developers who have committed fraud and had terrible tax payment records, a major reason for the city’s reputation for corruption and cronyism—business people with these factors in their profile are … Read more →

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