Archived Story

City can afford to be patient [UPDATED]

Published 9:06am Wednesday, May 22, 2013 Updated 11:09am Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The news that two developers are interested in repurposing the Kirkbride facility into a luxury spa, hotel and medical facility, and the Legislature approving an extension to 2016 to use up to $5 million in demolition funds for the RTC, certainly is good.

City officials have said the two companies interested in redeveloping the RTC— Colonnade Design Group and Historic Properties, Inc. — are indeed legitimate.

The two property owners say receiving historic tax credits will determine the project’s fate. We would support such credits.

The state has not paid property taxes for the RTC since it was built in the 1800s anyway, and the benefits of creating a destination site and preserving the Kirkbride far outweigh any tax benefits.

However, it’s hard not to remain skeptical. Even with both time and tax credits in place, past experience has shown the chances seem slim that the Kirkbride will become a facility everyone dreams about.

But at this point, the community has nothing to lose. The worst-case scenario is that the newest developers decide they can’t make the project work, and the Kirkbride building stands as-is for three more years and then is demolished.

Showing patience at this point seems worthwhile.

  • Jake Krohn

    You had me nodding in agreement right up to the final sentences. From the start, the fate of this building has always had the heavy weight of demolition hanging around its neck. The guaranteed check from the state for the razing of the facility has set the bar impossibly high for would-be developers, who must compete against that sure payout in front of a council whose group portrait adorns my dictionary’s definition of “cautious.” Now, “cautious” does not equal “bad,” but it sure puts a damper on the kind of return you can get on your investments.

    Let’s hope these new faces can bring energy, ideas, and assurance to this long-running saga. But if this effort falls short like those before it, let us consider a future where demolition — simply giving up — is not an option.

    • camobabe

      Mr. Krohn, would you prefer a council composed of members who act with recklass abandon and fall for any fly by night group who promise the moon, wheedle funds from the city, and disappear like puffs of smoke , money in their pockets, leaving the taaxpayers to pay for the losses? The council now has only two of the seven members who rammed through the ice arena against the opposition of the majority of homeowners, who opposed it. The voters have replaced them with people who promised they would not be so fast and loose with the the public treasury, with one notable exception, Mr. Landslide Cichosz, who was reelected by one vote against two opponents. Remember that the two other candidates garnered more votes , combined, than Cichosz. Our memories are not so short that we would again tolerate non-cautious gusrdians of the public, regardless the histrionics and shrill voices who want things no matter the cost to others to fulfill their demands.

      • Jake Krohn

        I hardly think it’s worth responding to your straw man arguments, but to answer your first question, no, of course not. And neither would the voting public, as your angry ramble so indicates. Histrionics and shrill voices indeed.

        All I’m saying is that it would be nice to rethink the default mindset when it comes to the RTC. However, with a process already in place in which failure to redevelop is rewarded, however meager, it’s an uphill battle. But I think it’s worthwhile to call attention to this incentive to fail and consider its role in shaping the debate around the facility.

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