Discuss Detroit DISCUSS DETROIT! Clean Detroit up; don't demolish its gems Previous Next
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Novine
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Username: Novine

Post Number: 1308
Registered: 07-2007
Posted on Saturday, March 28, 2009 - 12:00 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

http://freep.com/article/20090 327/OPINION05/90327089
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Jt1
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Username: Jt1

Post Number: 5807
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Saturday, March 28, 2009 - 12:05 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Speaking of which. Has themost recent Tiger Stadium deadline passed. If not, does anyone know when it is. More importantly has the group raised any significant amount of money.
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Leannam1989
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Username: Leannam1989

Post Number: 252
Registered: 06-2008
Posted on Saturday, March 28, 2009 - 12:44 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Nice article.I agree.
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Birdie
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Username: Birdie

Post Number: 145
Registered: 04-2007
Posted on Saturday, March 28, 2009 - 2:01 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

the most recent tiger stadium deadline just passed recently. they are managing to make each deadline and they have raised quite a bit of money.
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French777
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Username: French777

Post Number: 729
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Saturday, March 28, 2009 - 8:00 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I was Downtown yesterday for the games. And Downtown looked Really GOOD!! It was very clean. And most storefronts looked occupied
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321brian
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Username: 321brian

Post Number: 661
Registered: 02-2006
Posted on Saturday, March 28, 2009 - 9:04 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

blah, blah, blah, blah they need to do this, they need to do that.

Why don't people who want to save these buildings make it happen? Stop waiting for other people to do the right thing.

Buildings sit vacant for years and the owners can't win. When a vacant building sits and someone dies in it everyone is pissed. When a vacant building is torn down everybody is pissed.

The problem is if you own one of these buildings and renovate it in to office, retail, hotel, etc. who is going to live there, who is going to work there, who is going to shop there?

The answer today is nobody.

All of you preservationists need to put your money where your mouth is or shut up.

Any reason you have not to is exactly the reason why nobody else is.
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Deteamster
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Username: Deteamster

Post Number: 199
Registered: 07-2007
Posted on Saturday, March 28, 2009 - 10:56 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

"All of you preservationists need to put your money where your mouth is or shut up."

I don't need to do anything except pay taxes and die. You shut up. Or come over to my neighborhood and say that to my face.

There is this thing called "capital".
Matty Maroun has a net worth of 1.5 billion dollars.
http://www2.canada.com/windsor star/news/local/story.html?id= feaa025d-ed19-4e4e-8531-294769 b8274c
Now, someone with like that has the resources to mothball buildings that they own at the very least.

I make around 30k a year. I do not have the capital to purchase the Forest Arms and renovate them as I would like, so all I can do is advocate for that, and do things within my capacity maintain my historic home and church.

I also "put my money where my mouth is" and joined Preservation Wayne. http://www.preservationwayne.o rg/

Do you understand the differences now? Great, now shut the FUCK up.
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Vivadetroit
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Username: Vivadetroit

Post Number: 193
Registered: 04-2008
Posted on Saturday, March 28, 2009 - 11:12 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hey Brian, the problem is that a lot of us WOULD love to renovate these buildings, but the slumlords are asking ridiculous prices for buildings whose value has decreased greatly.

Maybe they need to just donate the abandoned buildings to non-profits, like they're doing for houses nowadays. just an idea. Manny? Dennis? Mike? Are you listening?
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Danindc
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Username: Danindc

Post Number: 4647
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Saturday, March 28, 2009 - 11:17 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

All of you preservationists need to put your money where your mouth is or shut up.



I believe, at the very least, that preservationists would be a lot happier if the City didn't have a de facto policy of eagerly using limited public funds to demolish buildings, especially when such demolition not only excuses, but enriches neglectful billionaire building owners.
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Gistok
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Username: Gistok

Post Number: 6272
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Saturday, March 28, 2009 - 12:19 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

321brian... as Bill Clinton once said...

"It's the economy, stupid!"...
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321brian
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Username: 321brian

Post Number: 662
Registered: 02-2006
Posted on Saturday, March 28, 2009 - 12:26 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Deteamster,

I would prefer you do the latter.

Viva,

I know what you are saying but these buildings are a no win. Maybe the people who own them bought them and had grand ideas then realized that it wasn't possible to turn every shell of a building in to the Fox or the Book Cadillac.

I don't automatically assume that there is a conspiracy to just tear down these buildings.

So what if some of these buildings get renovated then nobody moves in? Who wins?

Even in good times the city if a tough place to do business which makes it difficult to attract new businesses and residents.

I would rather see all of these buildings renovated and populated but that isn't realistic.

I think tearing them down is a better option that watching them decay and showing up on youtube in another asswipe "urban explorer" video.

If we are honest with ourselves we will all admit that nothing being torn down is the Coloessum.
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Retroit
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Username: Retroit

Post Number: 1087
Registered: 04-2008
Posted on Saturday, March 28, 2009 - 4:42 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

But Trainman, you forgot to tell us how to vote in 2018. Is it YES or NO? YES, YES, YES, or NO, NO, NO?


YES or NO?
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Mayor_sekou
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Username: Mayor_sekou

Post Number: 2658
Registered: 09-2006
Posted on Saturday, March 28, 2009 - 5:24 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

"I was Downtown yesterday for the games. And Downtown looked Really GOOD!! It was very clean. And most storefronts looked occupied."

What downtown are you talking about? Detroit? Which one? Certainly not the one in Michigan.
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Leannam1989
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Username: Leannam1989

Post Number: 253
Registered: 06-2008
Posted on Saturday, March 28, 2009 - 6:29 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

"The problem is if you own one of these buildings and renovate it in to office, retail, hotel, etc. who is going to live there, who is going to work there, who is going to shop there? "

Not sure. Does the "if you build it they will come" factor play here? Maybe not, but it seems like people can't rent/buy Downtown if there are no places to live Downtown (I'm sure there are some).

I'm not saying you need to go on a rehab and building frenzy in Downtown Detroit, and all Downtowns are different. But where will people live if there are not many good options available Downtown? We're in a recession. Now may not be the time to do it. However, once the economy recovers, rehabbing or building for residential may be viable. Seems like across the country it is chic to live in cities again. Maybe Detroit can do more to take advantage of this national change in the way people view cities.
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Detroitrise
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Username: Detroitrise

Post Number: 3852
Registered: 09-2007
Posted on Saturday, March 28, 2009 - 6:58 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

What downtown are you talking about? Detroit? Which one? Certainly not the one in Michigan.



You do realize who made that comment, right?

(Message edited by DetroitRise on March 28, 2009)
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3rdworldcity
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Username: 3rdworldcity

Post Number: 1386
Registered: 01-2005
Posted on Saturday, March 28, 2009 - 7:31 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

321brian: You know what you're talking about. You have expressed the most practical, common sense, realistic analysis of this topic. Too bad you're pissing in the wind. Keep it up, though.

Gistok, who in my humble opinion usually has a pretty good grasp of these urban real estate matters, blames the situation with respect to the LB on the economy ("....it's the economy, stupid.") However, I spent some time in the LB in the early '70s when a couple of the courts were located there, and it was a dump then as well. We have gone through some pretty good economic times since the LB was closed, and the fact is, in good times and bad, no developer has evidenced an interest in taking on the project. And most developers would build luxury apartments on Zug Island if they could get financing and there were enough fees involved (as there were in the BC renovation.)
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Novine
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Username: Novine

Post Number: 1311
Registered: 07-2007
Posted on Saturday, March 28, 2009 - 7:59 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

"We have gone through some pretty good economic times since the LB was closed, and the fact is, in good times and bad, no developer has evidenced an interest in taking on the project."

3rdworldcity, that's a flat-out lie.
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Busterwmu
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Username: Busterwmu

Post Number: 581
Registered: 09-2004
Posted on Saturday, March 28, 2009 - 8:25 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Nice to see a pro-preservation, pro-"sense of place" article put out to perhaps a wider audience. I don't regularly read the Free Press. Did it make any print edition?

3rd World City, you may be the only occupant if they build condos on Zug, so enjoy the scenery.

As Novine said, there WAS interest in redeveloping the Lafayette Building.... significant interest. Do some research, check your facts.
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Novine
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Username: Novine

Post Number: 1312
Registered: 07-2007
Posted on Sunday, March 29, 2009 - 2:10 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

"The problem is if you own one of these buildings and renovate it in to office, retail, hotel, etc. who is going to live there, who is going to work there, who is going to shop there?

The answer today is nobody."

If this is true for a rehabbed building, it's going to be true for a new development. Which means that parking lot you created by spending millions of dollars to demolish an existing building is going to sit empty. In this economy, the choice isn't demolition followed by new development versus rehabbing, it's spending millions on demolition to create a vacant lot with zero development potential versus spending less to mothball a structure for an extended time. How do you justify spending those millions for nothing?
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321brian
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Username: 321brian

Post Number: 663
Registered: 02-2006
Posted on Sunday, March 29, 2009 - 3:36 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I think there is a lot less maintenance and liability in a parking lot or a vacant lot than there is in an abandoned building.

Why do developers build where they build?

Because it is easier to build on raw land. That vacant lot is more attractive to someone looking to build.

It takes a special/dedicated developer to renovate a building.

Sorry to say it but there aren't a lot of those around here even in good times.

Like it or not parking lots around Fox are busy about 100 days a year for baseball and football.

That is about 100 more days than any vacant building that was there before.
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Huggybear
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Username: Huggybear

Post Number: 289
Registered: 08-2005
Posted on Sunday, March 29, 2009 - 5:16 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Demolition is highly distasteful, but from the standpoint of expense, it is a fairly predictable, one-time cost. But "mothballing" is not. It's a smaller initial investment (fixing the roof, windows, and securing the outside) followed by an indefinite period of smaller expenses (maintenance, security, insurance, and other things required to keep a building from becoming a liability trap).

Where that comes out depends on how long and how well it sits in the camphor balls - and it always sounds good in theory. But spans that buildings are vacant here run in the decades, meaning that you will probably end up putting a new roof on twice. And mothballing is only as good as the security in the past 24 hours. You only need to take your eyes off a building for a short time before it gets completely scrapped (MCS and Lee Plaza are two buildings that got looted almost immediately after security got lax). It's also possible that a building can come out of carbon freeze only to get demolished for a new (and probably smaller) building on the site. That's a potential outcome where mothballing could be all money down the drain.

Has long-term mothballing (i.e., more than a year or two) ever worked in Detroit, even if just to keep people out? I'm trying to think of some instance where it has, but I'm drawing a blank on anything except the south building of the Whittier (but that has been pretty aggressively guarded).
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Novine
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Username: Novine

Post Number: 1314
Registered: 07-2007
Posted on Sunday, March 29, 2009 - 5:39 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

"Why do developers build where they build?

Because it is easier to build on raw land. That vacant lot is more attractive to someone looking to build."

That's a simplistic view of development that has little to do with reality. Whether a lot is vacant or lot has little to do with its development potential or attractiveness to potential developers, especially within a downtown context. As others have noted, removing a historic building eliminates a lot of financial opportuntities for development that a vacant lot does not provide. As for the success rate of the vacant lot approach, name any major developments that have occurred in the past 5 years that came from demolition of a building downtown.
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3rdworldcity
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Username: 3rdworldcity

Post Number: 1391
Registered: 01-2005
Posted on Sunday, March 29, 2009 - 5:50 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Don't call me a liar, Novine. There has been casual interest in rehabbing the LB, but no serious interest. Nothing like doing the necessary environmental analysis or going to the capital markets for possible financing.

What none of you rehab proponents seem to realize, or comprehend, is that Michigan's freeze/thaw cycles take a terrible toll on abandoned, unheated structures. The damage done requires substantially higher investment for a rehab job than if the building hadn't sat vacant for a couple of seasons.

Don't count on the availability of conventional financing, ever, for that building. And don't count on the availability of the kind of tax credit financing that was available to the BC to be available for many years. If ever.

Let's assume that a well heeled, knowledgeable developer or two seriously considered rehabbing the LB, and obviously didn't proceed. Doesn't that tell you something? Anything? Anybody?
Do you any of you zealots have a time line with an outside date for getting it rehabbed before you'll consider dropping your opposition to demolition? Not that your current letter writing campaign will have any influence, absent a pocketful of real cash to support your position, but in Detroit, who knows?

The building is an embarrassment and should be demolished.

Instead of whining and howling at the wind about parking lots, promote the conversion of the cleared site to a park. I'm told that DTE and MGM spent several million on a park in front of DTE's HQ and it looks very nice. If the City doesn't have the money to create one or just won't do it, spend your energy doing it yourselves; you know, raise some money, volunteer your time and make a substantial contribution to the City. It would be time better spent than tilting at windmills, which is what you people are very good at. In fact, get some practice by taking over the Statler site and converting it to a nice park; I've heard it is a mess, a typical .
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3rdworldcity
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Username: 3rdworldcity

Post Number: 1392
Registered: 01-2005
Posted on Sunday, March 29, 2009 - 5:54 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The last sentence should end with "a typical ." (I've been red-lined.)

""

"


Well, fill in the blanks.
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Danindc
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Username: Danindc

Post Number: 4655
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Sunday, March 29, 2009 - 7:57 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

What none of you rehab proponents seem to realize, or comprehend, is that Michigan's freeze/thaw cycles take a terrible toll on abandoned, unheated structures.



Oh, do explain how this works. I'm sure *none* of the pro-preservation folks here know as much as how buildings work and deteriorate as much as you do. Please enlighten us.
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Rjlj
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Username: Rjlj

Post Number: 858
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Sunday, March 29, 2009 - 8:17 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

3rdworldcity,

Since you are such an expert on the subject, please further explain Michigan's freeze/thaw cycles and the higher investment involved for vacant building.

Also, please elaborate on which tax credits would not be available for the Lafayette building that were for the Book Cadillac even though the value of some tax credits has actually increased since the Book Cadillac has been completed.
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Novine
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Username: Novine

Post Number: 1315
Registered: 07-2007
Posted on Sunday, March 29, 2009 - 10:21 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

"Don't call me a liar, Novine."

I'm sorry, what part of "no" did I fail to understand?
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3rdworldcity
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Username: 3rdworldcity

Post Number: 1396
Registered: 01-2005
Posted on Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - 9:53 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Danindc: "Oh, do explain how this (note - freeze thaw cycles) works..." I don't know if you're being sarcastic or, more likely, really don't know anything about the impact of freeze/thaw cycles. Assuming the latter, I'll explain below.

By the way, in another thread you stated "It's cheaper to renovate a building than demolish and build new." Among the many naive, flat-out wrong comments in that thread, that's the most ridiculous. The economics depend on many things, including by way of illustration and not limitation, the condition of the building, how long its been vacant and unheated, the availability of financing for one approach versus the other, the marketplace (in some cities and among some prospective tenants, a rehabbed building may have more appeal than a new one, but not very often in my experience), and the time required for one versus another approach where, for example, there is a huge demand for a particular use and rehabbing may be the quickest and therefore the best way to capture a market. You love to make those blanket statements which evidence a remarkable lack of understanding of what you're talking about.

Rjij: You ask me to "explain how MI's freeze-thaw cycles work and the higher investment involved for a vacant building." (Dan, pay attention.) By way of background, in the '70's I represented the largest fire restoration-rehab contractor in the state. The company had many estimators. Each was provided with an "Estimator's Manual," an entire section of which was devoted to an analysis and checklist for estimating the impact, both on the interior and exterior, and cost to cure problems caused by the cycle.

When unheated structures and the materials comprising them freeze, they expand, and when they thaw, they contract. Plaster, for example, crumbles and exposes, again for example, steel structural beams. Those exposed beams rust, and it gets worse with the passage of time. Window frames separate from the building, water gets in, and the condition worsens, so that all windows must be replaced rather than saved had a building been heated.

On the exteriors, freeze/thaw cycles cause the mortar between bricks to deteriorate and the bricks to become displaced slightly. Water gets in between them and eventually rusts and deteriorates the steel lentils upon which each course of bricks rests. Tuck pointing prevents the process from occurring. When the exterior of a building is not maintained, freeze/thaw cycles and the failure to tuck-point cause the problems at, for example, the United Artists Building, where huge areas of the bricks on one wall gave way and fell to the sidewalk below several years ago. The exterior was so unstable that all the bricks on one side of the 20 story building had to be removed. They were not replaced and clearly, more damage has occurred. A friend several years ago was interested in acquiring the building. I recall at that time that the cost to repair the structural damage to that wall was over $1.9 million. It's probably much higher today. Those kinds of dollars can kill an otherwise potentially economical rehab.

The Lafayette Building is clearly suffering from the same problem. As I recall, this whole discussion started with the current problem of pieces of the building falling to the sidewalk. That stuff wasn't dislodged by a drunk or confused pigeon flying into the side of the building.

If any knowledgable developer seriously considered rehabbing the LB, the first thing that was done was to evaluate the ravages of the freeze/thaw cycle, and it's probable that the damage over the years has made it totally financially unfeasible to rehab, even if there was a market for any possible use. Such damage could probably be repaired if somebody throw enough money at the problem, which apparently what's happened at the BC. If that project does not turn out to be financially viable, it will be the last one ever done in Detroit in my opinion. Y'all better keep your fingers crossed.

Dan, say you're sorry.

Novine: You win on a technicality. However, I said there were no prospective developers of the LB because I don't consider dreamers like you with no experience in real estate, distressed or otherwise, as potential developers of anything.
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Rjlj
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Username: Rjlj

Post Number: 862
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - 10:03 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Funny how you know so much of the Lafayette's situation without a study even being conducted.

and don't forget:
Also, please elaborate on which tax credits would not be available for the Lafayette building that were for the Book Cadillac even though the value of some tax credits has actually increased since the Book Cadillac has been completed.
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Fnemecek
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Username: Fnemecek

Post Number: 1996
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Tuesday, March 31, 2009 - 10:43 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

All of you preservationists need to put your money where your mouth is or shut up.


The preservationists do put our money where our mouth is. We pay taxes. Our taxes are paying 100% of the demolition costs.

BTW - it will cost more of our limited tax dollars to demolish the LB than it would to fix it up. Therefore, since you want to spend more of our tax dollars then we have to, it's time for the building knocking downers to start putting their money where their mouths are.

You want to knock a building down? Fine. You pay for it.

Quit asking the rest of us to subsidize your love affair with parking lots.
quote:

We have gone through some pretty good economic times since the LB was closed, and the fact is, in good times and bad, no developer has evidenced an interest in taking on the project.


There are hasn't been an effort to market the building for sale.

There are certain constant laws in the universe. One of them is that if you don't try to do something, your odds of succeeding are nil.

I spent last Sunday sitting on the coach watching TV. By your "logic", the fact that I spent the day sitting on the coach means that it's impossible for anyone to run the Boston Marathon.

(Message edited by fnemecek on April 01, 2009)

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