Thursday, June 16, 2011

Do we really need the Harrison?

Barry Real Estate still cannot get the financing to build the Harrison building, which is part of the Harrison Square project that is named after Harrison Street. (This city has a habit of shunning creative names, but that's another post.) Barry Real Estate insists that the recession could not have been anticipated.

It's hard to argue with that. Even economists have difficulty predicting what the economy is going to do. But the recession has taken a heavy toll on the real estate market. The City Council did not know that this would happen when Harrison Square was approved in 2007. Now that the real estate market has changed, perhaps it is time to reconsider what should be in the empty space next to the ballpark. If the goal is still to generate property tax revenue to put in the TIF fund and help pay off the bonds that were sold to pay for the ballpark, then a new developer should be found.

Of course, many important and influential people are going to have conflicting ideas about what should be in that spot. But they should resist the urge to declare "My way or the highway". The city should let a developer willing to invest his own money decide what should be built there, as well as guarantee that his business will be allowed to remain as long as he pays his bills and complies with local ordinances.

Whatever your opinion of the Harrison Square project is, you still need to understand that companies have a love/hate relationship with eminent domain. They hate it when a high-value location is taken away from them, but occasionally they like having the city take an albatross (remember Southtown?)off their hands. If companies have to worry about their buildings being bulldozed to make way for the next mayor's grand vision, downtown could stagnate even if the economy takes off. Whatever happens with the condos, and whatever you think about the project as a whole, let's agree to quit using downtown as a political sandbox.


Tim Zank said...

I hate to sound like "Debbie Downer" but your downtown area ain't never gonna be a "thriving property tax producing" area. It's gonna be what it always has been, a taxpayer subsidized sink hole surrounded by lawyers offices with a handful of trendy bars and eateries that will open, fail and reopen again under new ownership over and over again.

It simply is what it "is".

DAVID C "ROACH" said...

every time i dine downtown, i get the sh*ts.
Lets start calling the site the "RICHARD HENRY HARRISON HOLE"
And the local bookeis are taking bets on when the legacy trust fund money will be used to bail out the what people? richard henry harrison hole!

and why not sell shares of "stock" or "bonds" to local indivicual investors. I 'm sure i could cough up 100 bucks, or so, to buy into ownership of a local ballpark/hotel/condo/office building. Pay me a dividend/interest on the profits, and ills settle for free beer, and a bleacher seat whe the money is tight. oh- toss in a weinr every now and then, and you got a deal. 100 dollars down, 18 million bucks minus 100 bucks to go? c'mon people- chip in- invest in fort wayne! support your tincaps1 11100 bucks a pop!? well, its better than what we have now..

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