Monday, February 27, 2006

What does Albany know?

One of the developer's partners for the South Exchange Street site is from Albany. A quick query of the NY Times and the Albany Business Journal reveals some interesting information. Our local reporter obtained a copy of an e-mail that Iversen sent to the city manager regarding a bankruptcy issue with the downstate partner, Victor Gush. Here's the quote that appeared in the paper:

“I’m told everyone got their money. I call that valuable experience,” Iversen wrote. “Critics will call it something else. Unfortunately, I don’t know anyone else in the development business who is willing to take risks, who hasn’t had at least one project that didn’t follow the desired script.”

It's true that it's important for everyone, including the city, to get their money. Which brings to mind the article from May 20, 2005 about South Main Manor:

The building’s former owner, South Main Manor Associates — led by managing partner Chris Iversen, president of Chrisanntha Inc. of Gorham — still owes all of a $300,000 low-interest loan awarded by the city’s Revolving Loan Fund in 1993.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Developers Meet City in Closed Door Session

Massa and Iversen, who want to develop the Exchange S. property are meeting with city council on Wednesday to iron out the details.

Will the council select a developer Wednesday? The proposals were just released to the public and there's been no opportunity for comment yet. The process used with the other sites had three steps. First, they collected the proposals, then they talked about them to determine if any of them should be allowed to submit more information. At the last meeting, they decided not to go forward with the residential development off High Street. This coming meeting should not be a negotiation for a sale. The comments in the paper about keeping up the momentum makes me nervous. Around here that seems to be code for "let's get this done quick and without public input."

I hope that doesn't happen here. The paper gives bits and pieces of the proposals. The latest bit of information is that Iverson wants docks built for his building's tenants. That's another attempt to privatize the lakefront.

Massa's plan has been reported as being reasonable. We haven't seen any mention of a tax giveaway yet. But if we like his plan we should still talk about it at a public meeting and get comments on it before council sells the land. This is, afterall, one of our best pieces of buildable property in downtown. The public shouldn't be shut out of the discussion when council goes over the details of the design and the economics.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Ontario County is the Best Place to Live

I know that we all knew this, that our area is the best place in the country to live, but here's an 'unbiased' source saying the same thing.
Read the article in Progressive Farmer Magazine: click here
And be sure to check out the great pictures.

One thing I noticed, in the article was the following line: "Instead of just relying on what they've been given--a great resource in the land--they have worked together to make the most of it and to preserve it. "

I hope that message gets through to Geneva's elected officials who want to carve up the lakefront for condos and offices.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The City Stands Up For Itself

The council debate about the Ridgewood and OEO sites was rather pleasant.

The two project ideas for Ridgewood were asking the city to foot the bill for up to $1 million in infrastructure. See a previous post on how fiscally irresponsible it would have been for the city to say "yes" to that.

The OEO discussion, about upscale condos., seemed positive. It looks like this will happen, and its clearly a positive for downtown. If it will be Massa or Iversen who does the project remains to be seen, but kudos to Jan Nyrop for saying what we're all thinking. He told the council that Iversen's list of demands: tax abatements, making the city build a marina, having the city pay rent for the first floor retail space was "a little disturbing."

He's right and the others seemed to agree. This is a major shift in their thinking and it's a sign that the city can really start to move forward. Ending the giveaways is the first step in controlling spending and hopefully reducing the taxes.