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Toledo Marina District July 2008 Update

July 16, 2008 Toledo Blade story :

Council delayed votes on several financing measures for the Marina District project. Councilman George Sarantou, chairman of council's finance committee, said the administration asked for the delay while details are worked out with Dillin Riverfront Properties.


July 16/17, 2008 WSPD story :

The current banking crisis may be to blame for another delay in Toledo's long-awaited Marina project. Mayor Carty Finkbeiner admits developer Larry Dillin is no longer seeking financial backing from Ohio banks. The mayor says Dillin now is speaking with overseas investors. Meanwhile, local investment advisor Dock Treece believes that the reluctance of local banks to get involved, and the government's involvement in the project, may doom the project. Treece says the Finkbeiner administration should sell the land to private ownership, then step away if the project is to succeed.

July 18, 2008 WSPD story :

A Toledo bond issue involving the Marina District still is up in the air without solid financial backing. Mayor Carty Finkbeiner yesterday (THU) tried to soften the blow of his admission this week that local banks are no longer in the picture.

The city is waiting for Developer Larry Dillin to secure a letter of credit to back the city-issed bonds for the project, a major concern for city councilman Mike Collins. Councilman Mike Craig, who represents the district where the project is planned, is confident that the funding will soon be put in place.

Meanwhile, crews tore down the former Brenner Marine building, which is the final step in clearing the riverfront land for a park.


July 17, 2008 Thurber's Thoughts blog posting titled Why Toledo City Council didn't approve the Marina District financing :

A sticking point has been which comes first: the public financing or the letter of credit from the developer?

The new development agreement requires that Dillin submit to the city "an acceptable construction Letter of Credit (LOC) in the amount of at least $8.3 million" at or prior to closing. But it also includes this wording: "... Developer shall provide to the City the financial institution's commitment to issue the LOC prior to passage of the legislation ..."

As we learned in Mayor Carty Finkbeiner's press conference yesterday, Dillin has not been successful in getting a letter of credit from any Ohio bank and is now looking at foreign banks and investors, due to the credit conditions in the States. If he had to provide the LOC prior to closing, council could have passed the legislation committing $10 million in public funds to the construction of infrastructure and the park. However, since Dillin has to provide evidence of a financial institution's commitment to a LOC prior to passage of the legislation, council postponed the vote Tuesday with no explanation.

It should be clear that the reason for the delay is because Dillin doesn't have such a commitment.

August 2008

Aug 22, 2008 - WNWO - Marina District Project in Jeopardy? :

Toledo's Marina District project may be in jeopardy. So developer Larry Dillin is asking for some changes. Dillin today told City Council, he has been unable to secure a letter of credit from any lenders. So he wants to break the project up into three separate phases.

Phase one would put a road through the property. Phase two would include the construction of the river side park. And phase three would include internal roads for stores and housing. Dillin says this will move the project along faster. "So we can accept the bids, get the work started this construction season. Try to get the road built before the end of the year.", Dillin says.

But Councilman Frank Szollosi isn't so sure about the plan. "There's no sense at this point building a road to nowhere", Szollosi says, "If the market doesn't think it can make money on the Marina District, why should the city of Toledo think it can make money on the Marina District?"


Aug 25, 2008 - WSPD - City Council to Vote on Revised Marina Plan :

Supporters Say the Investment Needs to be Made; Critics Say Too Much Public Money is Used

Just a month after Toledo city council approved one financing plan to jumpstart the Marina District project...they'll vote on a revised proposal. Council president Mark Sobczak is ready to vote yes on whatever it takes. Council members George Sarantou and Betty Shultz also appear ready to approve the plan.

Councilman Frank Szollosi, however, is skeptical, because the revised plan would require more public funding. It's unclear how the vote will turn out because only half the council members showed up for a committee hearing last week spelling out the new plan.

Audio quote by Betty Shultz :

"The mistake that we stand to make if we do not go forward with this is that the city dies."

Toledo politicians must be taking oratory lessons from Opal Covey.

Jul 27, 2005 Toledo Free Press story about Covey who was running for mayor of Toledo :

God gave Covey a message for the voters of Toledo last week. The candidate read the prophecy aloud: "A blessed new government awaits you. This is the second and last opportunity to choose a new government for Toledo through My servant Opal, whom I have sent for the job. Toledo is dead; she will resurrect through Me. If you choose to keep the old criminal government that has been cursed for many decades, the city will be destroyed."

Feb 25, 2008 Toledo Blade story where Toledo City Councilwoman Wilma Brown expressed concern about the possibility of Toledo's 25-year-old temporary 3/4 percent tax levy failing to pass on March 4 :

Councilman Wilma Brown was much more direct about the issue. "It's going to burn our city," she said during a finance committee meeting. Mrs. Brown said she would "flame-proof" her house and not drive her car because of the reduced police and fire forces should the income tax fail.

I don't understand why Betty Shultz feels the Marina District project is vital to Toledo. After all, we have flowers. In the spring of 2007, Toledo City Council voted to waste taxpayer money on flowers at entryways into Toledo.

Ms. Shultz said she opposed the urban beautification effort when it started several years ago, but now considers it critical to attracting new businesses and visitors to the city. "The city looks beautiful and clean and those are two things businesses want," Ms. Shultz said.


Aug 27, 2008 - Toledo Blade - Retooled Marina plan gets council approval :

Toledo City Council last night set in motion construction of the long-awaited Marina District along the Maumee River on the city's east side with approval of a $3.9 million state loan and a new agreement with Perrysburg developer Larry Dillin. Council voted 10-2 on both measures - the first to approve the new development agreement with Mr. Dillin and the second to approve a $3.9 million loan from the State Infrastructure Bank. That money will be used to help fund the main road through the Marina District's $20 million public park area along the river.

Councilmen Frank Szollosi and Michael Ashford voted no on both ordinances. Mr. Ashford initially voted yes on the ordinance approving the loan, but later asked for a re-vote and voted no.

Mr. Dillin said the publicly funded roadway and park will be the catalyst for what eventually will be a $320 million private residential and commercial development. Mr. Dillin, who offered a personal guarantee to repay loans for the Marina District, told council he would walk away from the project if his personal financial information was made public.

Under the plan, $6.86 million will be assembled for construction of a Riverside Drive, extending along the river north from Main Street.

The money will come from a $1.5 million grant from the Ohio Department of Development, the $3.5 million loan from the State Infrastructure Bank to be repaid by Mr. Dillin, a $660,000 grant, and $1.2 million paid by Mr. Dillin for at least 14.66 acres in the southwest quadrant of the Marina District.

The remaining $11.3 million that will pay for the public park, which is to have fountains, a clock tower, performance space, and boat docks, will be funded with $5 million from the Ohio Cultural Facilities Commission, $2.5 million in 20-year general obligation bonds from the city paid by special assessments on Mr. Dillin's property, the $2.4 million from the land purchase by Mr. Dillin, and an additional $1.4 million from Mr. Dillin.

The city already has spent $1.84 million for water and sewer infrastructure at the Marina District - bringing the total to $20 million.

In other business last night, council:

  • Approved a $1.5 million U.S. Environmental Protection Agency brownfield loan to the owners of the vacant Southwyck Shopping Center for asbestos removal and to demolish it by the end of the year.

#business

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