We've moved!

Social Icons

twitterfacebooklinkedinrss feed

Saturday, January 9, 2010

What's the Delay on Developing Rosebud's Old Downtown Site?

Over a year ago, Madison's city commission and Lake Area Improvement Corporation played a remarkable downtown development shell game, booting Rosebud Manufacturing out of downtown to the industrial park on the edge of town, then arranging a deal with the Interlakes Community Action Program to build a new headquarters on the old Rosebud property. Jon Hunter thought these moves were great; I asked whether ICAP's move was really the best we could do for downtown development;—more like downtown maintenance, since we're not really adding any new business.

Agree or disagree, we're all still waiting for development to happen. ICAP and the city negotiated a $350K purchase price for the half-block Rosebud vacated on Van Eps Avenue. Around the beginning of 2009, ICAP paid $5000 to secure a six-month exclusive purchase option. Mid-year, ICAP extended the option for another six months, for another $5K.

Monday ICAP and the city commission will consider another six-month, $5K option extension.

Read the purchase agreement in the January 11 city commission agenda packet. It says "Time is hereby declared to be of the essence in this Option." ICAP and the city's dawdling suggest the contrary.

ICAP is essentially getting to mortgage an entire half-block of downtown commercial property for $833 a month. If the city approves the latest option extension, they'll have kept this developable property off the market for 18 months. We're collecting no property tax from it now, and ICAP expects the property to be tax exempt when (if) it finally purchases the land. We're sitting on a big vacant lot instead of creating a competitive economic opportunity.

As I've said before, ICAP does fine work. I have no beef with them. But Madison has hundreds of unemployed and underemployed (read Gehl) workers. We are 725 jobs short of our five-year goal to create 400 jobs by 2012. If I'm an aggressive economic developer, I say to ICAP, "Poop or get off the pot." I could put that land on the market, find a commercial developer who could put up something like Randy Schaefer's strip mall, and fill it with ten businesses that would create jobs, sales tax, and property tax.

Of course, I'm not an aggressive economic developer. Neither, apparently, is the city of Madison.

1 comment:

  1. I'm curious too. Give them the extension I suppose, since there may be no one next in line immediately. That said, if the deal falls through, could we put up FOR SALE signs next time??? Jon Hunter, who too often gives the rubber stamp, in my Democratic opinion, seemed to say these properties should be publicly marketed. Real question: Did anyone even know the former Rosebud properties were for sale? Unless someone had contacts with the LAIC (who is not the city by the way), would probably never know. I'm suggesting the city allowed the LAIC to market our property to those who were in the best interest of the LAIC, and not us (Madison taxpayer).


Comments are closed, as this portion of the Madville Times is in archive mode. You can join the discussion of current issues at MadvilleTimes.com.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.