'Yes' vote needed on crescent
Now is the time to move forward with the downtown Detroit Lakes "crescent" development. The Detroit Lakes City Council on Tuesday will vote on whether or not to approve a letter of intent with DLM Downtown Properties LLC to redevelop the crescent...
Now is the time to move forward with the downtown Detroit Lakes "crescent" development.
The Detroit Lakes City Council on Tuesday will vote on whether or not to approve a letter of intent with DLM Downtown Properties LLC to redevelop the crescent area.
Here's why the council should vote yes:
1) The time is right.
Some may argue that the time is wrong because of the nation's weak economic recovery.
But it's hard to see Detroit Lakes getting a whole lot more for the property, because what a developer pays helps dictate what kind of rent can be charged to tenants, and that is dependent on local real estate market conditions, among other things.
Besides, who is to say there will be any better time to go forward? The economic situation may not be any better in the next 3-5 years for small communities.
Detroit Lakes is fortunate that the DLM Group, a reputable company with a strong track record, is willing to take the plunge and develop the first stage of the crescent area.
2) The city isn't selling the land as cheaply as you think.
Although the price tag on the property is $300,000, the city will capture an estimated $640,000 in tax increment financing that would ordinarily go to the developer. That essentially brings the total sale price to about $940,000.
Some on the city council want to hold out for veto rights over potential tenants. That simply is not a reasonable request. In our experience, no developer would accept those conditions.
When the city contracts with a developer it is relying in part on its past achievements and reputation. One of the principals at DLM Downtown Properties is now involved in the West Acres shopping center.
The developer also has its reputation to consider. If it fills the development with office space and relocated businesses from elsewhere in Detroit Lakes -- which is what opponents fear might happen -- its own reputation will suffer.
3) If you snooze, you lose. There's something to be said for getting excited about a project and pushing forward with it, even if the end result is unknown.
The city will always be faced with the infrastructure costs, and there's no guarantee any better development offers will come along.
It would also be a shame to leave the crescent area vacant for three to five years while waiting for better economic times or a different developer to come along.
Other developments are on track to improve the city's business core --from the North Washington Avenue streetscaping project this fall to the new St. Mary's Innovis campus and the new MeritCare Clinic campus -- and they all fit together.
A bicycle and pedestrian route, for example, will run from Highway 34 down Washington Avenue to the new crescent development, through the St. Mary's Innovis campus and through the MeritCare campus to hook up with the existing bike trail along West Lake Drive.
When it comes to the crescent development area, the sooner the city gets it done, the better.