Job security?  Or, just blatant favoritism….
Posted: 24 February 2013 01:43 PM   [ Ignore ]
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So, HIlgers sends a letter to Noble telling him to abide by the contract or the City will take appropriate action.  Noble’s project is not behind schedule.  Noble is not delinquent.  Yet, Hilgers sends a warning letter.

Were there not a number of instances when Dial Corporation fell out of compliance with contractural schedules?  If so, did Hilgers author similar letters and post them to Dial?  Or, is this selective enforcement?  Well, maybe not selective enforcement but selective closing of eyes and ears by City staff with a favored developer. 

Was Dial Corporation ever delinquent with contractural schedules while involved in the 3rd/4th Street Redevelopment Project?  If so, were letters sent telling them of the deliquency?  Were letters sent when that project was still on schedule, similar to the letter sent to Noble?  How do we find the answers to those questions?

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Posted: 25 February 2013 03:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Larry:  The city commission saw the memo prior to it being sent.  Jason Hilgers is not to blame as the note did not go out without the mayor’s knowledge.  The idea was to just confirm that everything was on track.  I was not involved in the Dial business, but agree with what you have written.  The intent of the memo in question was to prevent any repeat of the missteps that may have taken place with Dial.  Not sure how the memo and the discussion made into the Mercury.  The info is not really newsworthy as the final steps in the contract will not take place until May of this year.  As far as I am aware everything is scheduled to proceed as planned.  If for some reason the second hotel is not built, then something else will go on the lot. We have one hotel and a mixed use building under construction, so two of the three parts of the plan are either complete or in progress.

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Posted: 25 February 2013 07:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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“Not sure how the memo and the discussion made into the Mercury.”

If the city commission saw the memo and discussed it prior to its being sent, that seems to imply the discussion occurred at an open meeting and would be subject to the Mercury’s writing an article about it if deemed interesting.  Since you’re unsure how and why it came about, should I guess or infer that the memo wasn’t discussed in the open?

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Posted: 25 February 2013 08:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Wynn, I’m still having trouble swallowing this story.  Hilgers didn’t see any need to advise Dial of deliquencies.  Hilgers didn’t see any need to advise Dial of their contractural responsibilities.  Right?  But, evidently, Hilgers takes a memo to certain members of the Commission to gain permission to hit Noble with a reminder letter.  According to The Mercury article, Noble took the letter in a negative tone… and, if he was singled out… why shouldn’t he?  How often does the City send a letter to recepients of eco-devo dollars, even though they are current with their contractural responsibilites, reminding them of the contract?  How often does the City send letters to other firms under contract with the City, simply restating terms of the contract… if the firm is performing as well or better than their contract stipulates?  I find it strange that Hilgers was one of the loudest voices against selling the land to Noble.  And, Hilgers is the one posting a “reminder” letter to Noble… a unnecessary reminder since everyone agrees Noble has met the requirements of his contract, to date.  Maybe, for the sake of embarrassment, it would have been better if this had been kept covered up and not published in The Mercury.  The entire boondoggle reeks even more when you, an elected official, question the transperancy.  Too bad The Mercury can’t do a follow up article… an article publishing the apology letter from Hilgers to Noble stating that Noble IS in compliance and that the ‘reminder’ letter was not required.

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Posted: 26 February 2013 08:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Kathy - The memo was given to each of the commissioners and the candidates.  It was discussed in the briefing session. It was a clear open meeting, those are the facts.  I still wonder why it was in the Mercury and why it was news worthy?  Seems to have been blow out of proportion.  The point is that the memo was not done by the staff in isolation so do not blame any particular staff member. 

Larry:  I am not questioning the transparency.  I just saw the memo as a follow-up on the status of the contract and did not see a problem with it being sent.  The Mercury turned that into an article that appeared to paint the city and the developer as being at odds.  I do not see it that way.  It also seemed to imply that the developer would not follow through on the contract and I have not indication that that is true. 

It just seems to me that everyone is very much on the negative/pessimistic side and want to create a problem where none exists.

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Posted: 26 February 2013 08:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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“so do not blame any particular staff member.”

If that is addressed to me, I made no comment about any staff members, nor attempted to place any blame on a staff member.

The redevelopment is newsworthy.  I’ll admit to being on the pessimistic side when it comes to the redevelopment, with the latest changes reinforcing my opinion.  The proposed mixed-use building on the corner of 4th and Colorado was planned to include residential space and space for commercial, potentially a restaurant, and will now be all residential, removing yet again any chance that there might actually be entertainment in the “Entertainment District.”

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Posted: 26 February 2013 10:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Kathy,
There will be no entertainment in the entertainment district, unless you are entertained by renting an apartment, or staying in a hotel room.  No problem, though…we have an entertainment district…it is called Aggievile.  And, of course there are the city commission meetings which can be very entertaining for those who stay up late.

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Posted: 26 February 2013 12:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Kathy - I did not intend to connect any individual with the comment - “so do not blame any particular staff member.”  The beginning of the thread sort of put the blame on one of the Assistant City Managers.  The only point I was tring to make is that responsibility for the memo is that of the Commission as a whole. 

I tend to agree with your comment on the entertainment district; it needs to have a new moniker.  As for the mixed use building going in next to the Hilton, that building will now all be residential.  But the mixed use building that will be in front of the parking garage will still include the retail ground floor.  Not far from that site is the new Civics Plus building it will also have ground floor commercial.  Three mixed use buildings were in the general area.  One has been converted to apartments only.  The other two will still have the commercial component.  I think the developer changed the concept once they evaluated the fact the we had three building of the same general nature in the same vicinity.

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Posted: 26 February 2013 02:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Yes, just change the name of the district so the public will forget what the district was intended to be.  “Arts District,” then “Entertainment District,” now evolved to what . . . “Delusion District”? 

The new CivicPlus building planned for 4th and Pierre is, of course, not in the redevelopment.  A goal of the redevelopment was to encourage growth and make Manhattan a regional shopping and entertainment area, so I suppose one could argue that CivicPlus’ decision to build in that location is a result of the redevelopment, but redevelopment dollars intended for an entertainment district are not supporting CivicPlus, just regular eco-devo funds.

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Posted: 26 February 2013 02:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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It boggles my mind to see you guys suggest the South End is not an Entertainment District.  We will have 3 hotels, plus a large number of apartments for young career professionals.  There will undoubtedly be more “entertainment” happening down there than the orignal planners would ever have thought.

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Posted: 26 February 2013 08:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I am not worried about what you call the area, entertainment district might not be appropriate.  But I would not suggest changing the name to delude anyone.    Some folks still do not like the Mall, so indications are that no matter what is done some folks will disapprove.  The thing morphed into what it is.  It will have three hotels (unless the hotel #3 project is changed), an apartment building and a mixed use building (coffee shop, bakery, restaurant and/or possible retail).  As Larry says it will have some entertainment.  But the district will not be Broadway.  Add the projected restaurant to the Discovery Center and as Larry stated it has some entertainment value.  The Civics Plus building and other possible improvements to that area are related and may be a direct spin off of what has been accomplished.  I guess they should have just left the grain mill at the end of the bridge.

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Posted: 26 February 2013 08:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Michael Hadley - 26 February 2013 10:07 AM

...unless you are entertained by renting an apartment, or staying in a hotel room.

Ever since I was a kid, renting a hotel room in Manhattan WAS entertainment. More than one birthday party I attended when I was about 12-15, then later, prom parties (MHS prom parties; I didn’t attend any at my own school) were held in hotel rooms. And not for salacious reasons, but because there is nothing to freakin’ do around here. Having the same old boring party in a new room with maybe a swimming pool on the first floor was all anyone could think of doing. Of course, once they were old enough or had a good enough fake ID, they could finally get “entertainment” in Aggieville.

Wynn mentioned the mall… that is not entertainment. The only entertainment that was ever there was the arcade, which disappeared years ago for yet another chain restaurant.

Why the City keeps resisting creating entertainment venues and instead just plunks down more apartments and hotels is beyond me, but I’ve got to believe it’s for the money.

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