- Title: Sweetheart Brownfield Assessment Concern on St. Anne Lofts: Once More with Feeling
- Author: Eliot Singer
- Date: 07/12/2012
- Additional Categories: City Council -2011 - 2013, Recent Essays, ST. ANNE LOFT (collapsed)
Sweetheart Brownfield Assessment Concern on St. Anne Lofts: Once More with FeelingAccording to Ms. Dreger's notes, when asked by Mr. Power about the St. Anne Lofts brownfield plan, Mr. Dempsey (the development director) replied:
"Yes, we looked at comp rents for a 4-bedroom unit, we looked at existing and what we expected from City Center 2, we are looking at additional $6,000/year tax capture. If you apply that over the brownfield plan life, that looks like a 3-4 year reduction of the plan. We are recommending if this is approved, what we do after a year or two of operation of that particular unit, that we would access the value at that point and then perhaps recommend an amendment to the brownfield, once we have a better understanding of the income potential." Dreger's Notes
This is a grossly inadequate response. The brownfield plan has already been amended by the act of substantially changing the site plan and adding approximately $90,000 ($6000 in taxes divided by 67 mils) of new taxable value from the penthouse, apparently without any notification to the affected taxing bodies. Piddling about behind closed doors appears to be in clear violation of state law, and the City Attorney's acquiescence to anything and everything to facilitate the development-ho agenda disqualifies him from offering a judgement on this - Council has a right to ask for an outside legal opinion. I also suspect the $1 million MDEQ grant required the brownfield plan to be amended, but again probably done behind closed doors.
The added $90,000 in taxable value for 4-bedrooms ($22,500 per room) is generally in line with the CC II per bedroom valuation of approximately $24,000 for high-end rentals. Neither is in line with the $21,000 per bedroom beat-up 4-bedroom house down the block from me that charges $475 per month rent (with no air conditioning).
But the real problem is not the added value for the penthouse, but the previous valuation for the 4000 sq. ft. original site plan, with 31 one- and two-bedroom apartments and approximately 1333 sq. ft. commercial, which for CC II was valued at $88 per sq. ft (taxable value). Using the Oetzel-Hartmann approach, the original St. Anne Lofts site plan should have been valued at approximately $2 million (taxable value) instead of the $1 million in the brownfield plan.
Council needs to challenge Dempsey to explain how he came up with that number and require that whatever brownfield plan and development plan, with whatever changes, he now has invented in private be included in the Council packet for discussion in two weeks.
If we are forced to go the FOIA route, we will go after everything, and I'm sure it will not be pleasant.
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