What Counts as Outside “The Boundaries of Normal Messing-Up”? // Alice Dreger

Historic District - Sunset Ln - Copyright Raymond Holt

As  reported at ELi today , City Council voted 3-2 on Tuesday night to finally end the excruciating process of considering changes to the Oakwood Historic District boundaries. 

As was expected when this process started in 2013, the DDA’s Evergreen Avenue properties were removed to allow for redevelopment in order to deal with the looming $5.4 million debt on them. I’m happy to say the boundary was moved only two properties farther north, leaving largely intact the district I bought into in 1998 with the purchase of our … Read more →

Selling and redeveloping city’s Evergreen properties is not financially necessary // Eliot Singer

Three of the EverGreen properties

With a new Council and an apparent willingness to look beyond the DDA for solutions to the Evergreen properties quagmire, I am going to revive my analysis from several years ago that it is not financially imperative to sell and redevelop the city’s Evergreen properties, which were originally bought with the intent of tearing them down and replacing with a massive parking garage.

Recall that the properties were bought 10 years ago for more than 3 times their assessed market value, at a time … Read more →

The DDA’s Evergreen Avenue Debt: It’s Time to Think Creatively // Alice Dreger

Three of the EverGreen properties

Tomorrow night, Sept. 10, City Council will take up the question of whether to permanently rezone the DDA’s Evergreen Avenue properties (314-344 Evergreen on the east side) to B3. In a report published today at ELi, I explain what that would mean and list what are seen as the pros and cons of this rezoning: 

https://eastlansinginfo.org/content/rezone-big-redevelopment-near-park-complicated-question-coming-council

As a lot of Public Response readers know, these properties carry about $5.6 million in debt, a debt for with City taxpayers are ultimately responsible. 

That debt … 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 →

Exclusive Contract on Public Land for Park Place Development?

The redevelopment concept known as Park Place has headed in a direction we’ve never seen before – with a complex and exclusive Purchase & Sale Agreement being negotiated before the project has even been formally proposed. What’s going on? East Lansing Info has the scoop at:

https://eastlansinginfo.org/content/extraordinary-process-developers-may-obtain-exclusive-contract-public-land

Selling Lot 4 and Dublin Square // Eliot Singer

Previous development plans involving the city’s foolishly purchased Evergreen properties (City Center II, Park District RFP) have also included Lot 4, adjacent to Dublin Square. Voters said no to the attempt to sell Lot 4 for the DTN/Strathmore project, because of anger over City Center II and suspicion Strathmore shell companies were still involved (which documents from the Cuyahoga trial confirmed).

It is too late to put selling Lot 4 on this November’s ballot.

 

– Eliot Singer

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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