Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Boss Godfrey Proposes "Gifting" a $3 Million Downtown Property

And it ain't even Christmas season yet

One more item we wanted to get up on the front page today, despite our backbreaking real life calender. This agenda item from tonight's Emerald City RDA agenda:
4. Reports from Administration:
a. Conveyance of RDA parking garage located at 2430 Kiesel Avenue to Ogden-Wasatch Properties. Proposed Resolution 2008-12 approving and authorizing the Executive Director to execute and perform any and all actions required of the Agency necessary to effectuate the disposition and conveyance of the Kiesel Avenue Parking Garage located at 2430 Kiesel Avenue, Ogden, Utah. (Approve/not approve resolution – roll call vote)
Ace reporter Schwebke also has an article up on this topic today in the Standard-Examiner hard copy edition. The gist of it, as Schwebke explains it, is that Boss Godfrey is proposing the RDA donation of a property which was valued around 1988 @ $3.3 million, to a downtown property owner... gratis.

Our schedule's tight this afternoon, but we at least wanted to bring this story to the forefront... at least a few hours of tonight's RDA meeting.

As we headlined it in Curmudgeon's earlier article, "Corporate welfare remains alive and well in Utah."

Free downtown property is also available, so long as you're a friend of Matt.

21 comments:

Watching the Markets said...

Looks like the moron Dave Harmer's last act prior to his "retirement" will be to give away another valuable RDA property for free.

When the chickens come to roost, Godfrey, Harmer and Southwick will be sharing the same 4x8 cell in Draper.

As usual, the Council/RDA Board should table this matter, and calender it for further discussion, once their own council staff have had the opportunity to do their own due diligence.

Monotreme said...

So, they found the missing parking spaces.

Miss Lillie said...

A million here and a million dollars there starts to become real big money pretty soon.

Godfrey wouldn't realize that with his tunnel vision.

Curmudgeon said...

Mono:

LOL!

Curmudgeon said...

In re; the value of the parking garage...

Well, how valuable, to the city, is it? The construction bonds are already paid off via tax increment financing. The city has to subsidize its operation each year. There do not appear to be any buyers interested in taking it over and operating it.

So, I have to wonder, if the city's best interests, in this instance, might be served by transfer it to a company planning [as part of the swap] to significantly increase employment downtown.

Granted, there are allied benefits to the city from the structure. Doesn't it provide event parking for the Convention center, for example? And wasn't it touted as convenient nearby parking to serve the ice tower? Presumably if it were transferred [or sold], some way would have to be included in the terms to protect these uses for the city.

I don't know if the transfer is a good idea or not. Just saying the Council needs to consider if, all things considered, the city would benefit more from transferring title of the structure than by not transferring it. As I said, all things considered. We regularly pony up financial incentives for companies to come here [usually involving some kind of tax increment financing or a direct subsidy]. Transfer of the parking garage, built and already paid for by tax increment bonding, does not seem that far, at all, from what we often do to encourage business growth.

So: that's the question the Council should consider, IMHO. On balance, all things considered, will Ogden benefit more from transferring the property than it will from not transferring the property?

RudiZink said...

"There do not appear to be any buyers interested in taking it over and operating it."

LOL, Curm... from what evidence do you draw that completely unsupported conclusion?

The fact is that the City Council will be called upon again... to vote on a giant Corporo-fascist gift, without the council staff's opportunity to vet Godfrey's imperial decision.

Betcha a burger at Big Jim's that the council puts this matter over for at least a week.

Curmudgeon said...

Rudi:

Whether the garage has real "value" in the market and can be sold in a way that would benefit the city more than transferring it as the Mayor suggests is exactly the sort of thing I'd want to look into if I were on the Council, and exactly the sort of thing the Council should, and I expect, will look into in making its decision. I wasn't at the work sessions. Perhaps they've already done some of that.

But simply having someone willing to offer money for the structure will not necessarily mean selling it would be the best option. For example, selling it as a tear down for the property value as a site for new construction, might not serve the city well if its [non-monetary] value as a parking venue for events at the Convention Center and Convention Center Hotel [and prospective Ice Tower] is, in the Council's opinion, more valuable to the city than the cash price. Similarly, if MarketStar planned moving out of downtown if it cannot get access to parking, that's a "cost" that would have to be factored in as well.

As I said, Rudi, I don't know what would be the wisest course to follow in re: the garage. I haven't studied the matter. Only said, and think still, that the Council must ask this question: on balance, all things considered, would the interests of Ogden be better served by approving this transfer or by rejecting it? And at this point, I don't think the answer to that question is, based on what we know so far, obvious.

danny said...

Harmer says there are substantial benefits to adding 300 Marketstar jobs.

Come again? Do low wage telemarketers and their kids add more to any economy than they draw? I doubt it. They can come, but they are not a financial net plus and should not be paid for moving here.

Godfrey says the deal will "extinguish the city's financial responsibility and liability." Yeah, like Godfrey wanted to "extinguish the city's financial responsibility and liability" for the golf course. Hey Godfrey, anytime you want to "extinguish" any more city assets let me know, I'd be happy to take them off your hands FOR FREE. Who wouldn't? Sheesh!

I assume the garage has value. So offer to SELL it to Marketstar, not GIVE it to them. If the city doesn't want it, then SELL it to whoever wants it, or auction it. Don't give it away for free.

I'll bet there is more than meets the eye with Godfrey wanting to give this thing away for FREE. It makes no financial sense.

Curmudgeon said...

Danny:

The difference between this instance and Mt. Ogden Park is pretty large: losing the park would mean losing the trails network that winds through it, the park area, the open space, the low-fee golf course... all of which Ogden residents make it plain they value a great deal. Moving the parking garage to private ownership that kept it operating as a parking garage would mean losing, in effect, nothing the general population uses a great deal and values a great deal.

Historically Inaccurate said...

Ogden City's favortie real estate moguls have now applied for a permit to demolish the Windsor (which they have no grounds for).

Another great financial decision.

Perhaps they're planning on billing the taxpayer for that as well.

danny said...

Curm,

"Moving" the parking garage to private ownership "loses nothing"? Is a valuable asset "nothing"? Where, Curm, do you get this stuff?

Sure, privatize it. The issue is "selling" it, rather than "giving it away". Neither of us presently knows what the garage is worth nor does the city council.

They should put it on the market rather than giving it away. It's pretty simple. Godfrey should not be in the business of choosing which companies to subsidize this way, although he likes to be.

disgusted said...

curm,

you don't read very well do you. ogden isnt giving the parking facility to marketstar they are giving it to ogden wasatch properties llc the property owner. now who the hell is odgen-wasatch properties llc should be the first question and how does ogden benefit by giving the parking facility to the landowner.
does this mean that we should give the rec center to the owners of golds gym once we the residents pay it off. just because we dont owe money on it anymore doesnt mean that it is not worth anything to the city. it is a capital asset.
i do not see where giving it to the landowner is doing anything relative to our contribution to the state matching funds requirement unless ogden-wasatch properties llc is part of marketstar.
ogden should not give away any or all of our city assets just to attract business to town. that parking facility supports the egyptian theater and convention center as back up parking and if the downtown ever becomes pedestrain frendly that would be a great place to park your car if you were going to both the rec center and the 25th street area.
ogden needs to protect our assets to liabilities ratios. if we want or expect to continue to have a favorable bond rating we need to ensure that we keep a few hard assets in this town.
also i have a hard time believing that the parking facility costs 200,000 dollars per year to maintain. just think about it.
unless a more compelling agrument is made i dont think this facility should be given away.

enough said...

Why does every business in town have to be on the Government Teat?

It seems that every business in town wants subsidies from the State and City to stay in town.

When is this nonsense going to end?

They all have their hand out, and we the taxpayers keep giving, proxy Godfrey and Associates.

Curmudgeon said...

Danny:

You didn't read my post very carefully, I think. What would have been lost in transferring Mt. Ogden Park were things Ogdenites made very clear they valued and did not want to lose: the open space, the trails network, the public access golf course. Nothing that I can see that the public uses and values like those things would be involved in the garage transfer.

As for selling it: you presume there are buyers. The garage, the story says, requires an annual public subsidy to maintain and operate. Perhaps there are folks out there just itching to own and run a downtown parking garage. If so, by all means, if the sale all things considered makes sense, sell it to them.

Kind of hard to sell it if there are no buyers, or none it would sense, all things considered, to sell to. But again, as I noted above, this is the sort of thing the Council needs to look at in making its decision. I don't know what would be best for Ogden in this situation. I don't have enough information to judge. I suspect you don't either, unless you know of potential buyers eager to take the parking garage... and the annual subsidy to run and maintain it... off the city's hands.

Curmudgeon said...

Disgusted:

You wrote: how does ogden benefit by giving the parking facility to the landowner. And you wrote:

Ah... Disgusted, that seems to be exactly the question I said the City Council needs to ask, and answer, in order to make its decision on this matter. And some of the very things you note about the garage... its role as event parking for the Convention Center for example... I noted too and said had to be included in assessing whether the transfer would be in the city's interest or not. Or didn't you notice?

Curmudgeon said...

Enough:

Of course a business would like a subsidy if it could get one. That doesn't mean every business should get one [not all do, by any means]. Nor does that mean none should. There are some instances in which a city subsidy might make very good sense and definitely be in the public's interest. And there are some instances in which a subsidy might be a very bad idea. I don't see much wisdom in a "one size fits all" policy. Every proposal needs to be looked at and judged on its merits so the Council can make the best decisions for the city and its residents.

disgusted said...

who is odgen-wasatch properties llc

drewmeister said...

Well, yet another fire here in Leshemville.. this time first thing in the morning (abt 9am). Heckuva job you're doin' here, Matty!

Curmudgeon said...

Comment moved to main article

Blogden said...

Alas, this is a fait accompli but there were other options available to the city in addition to giving the garage away for free. This transfer was hurried through without apparent or transparent consideration of options.
Was any exploration of reducing the alleged $200,000 overhead costs conducted? For instance, rather than charging daily purchase fees could converting them to monthly service fees have been done? That could have left money to maintain the facility while reducing administrative oversight costs.
What other protections have been installed for the users of the facilities in off-MarketStar time periods? Will the convention center users as well as Perry users be charged to park? Should MarketStar (assuming Ogden-Wasatch Properties are related to MarketStar) be allowed to make a profit on the gift?
If and when MarketStar leaves Ogden for cheaper and greener pastures much like they are doing by leaving Salt Lake City, will the parking garage be conveyed back to the city or will they be able to sell it for a profit?
There were too few discussions in this give-away based upon the Standard-Examiner article. Curmudgeon may be correct in saying this is a good thing but the transfer of a $3.3 million property (or about $40 bucks for each Ogden resident) should have had more open discussion or at least disclosure of more details in how it will benefit Ogden in total.

Curmudgeon said...

Blogden:

Just for the record, I didn't say "this is a good thing." I said it might be a good thing to do, and that it should be looked at, not just dismissed out of hand. I have no idea, myself, whether this was a good move or not. I don't have enough information. And from what I've seen [only the stuff in the paper], and Ms. Jeske's comments, I am not convinced the Council gave it the study it should have in order to have reached a sound and solid conclusion.

Perhaps the Council did. Perhaps there was a work session or study session regarding this. Be interesting to know that, and if there has not been, be interesting to know why the rush to get it done so quickly.

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