As you are aware I sent staff a list of the questions I had about the value proposition of the Bloom Proposal in downtown Rochester. I really appreciate the detailed responses provided by Terry Speath. A number of questions have been answered in detail.
You can read his responses to my 27 questions here.
In addition, there here is a narrative on the project.
Terry did a great job answering many of my questions, however at this point I still can’t support $18 million in public assistance for the project. This is in addition to the effective sale of the land for effectively $107 per square foot (a reasonable, rational price).
Basically I can see public benefit on the order of about $8 million. Much of that $8 million will be dependent on the detail of the yet to be finalized Development Agreement. What do we get for the other $10 million, really nothing.
The project will be a nice one and will pay significant local taxes, but so does every other local project, what makes this project deserve $10 million in extra funds beyond what is being delivered for public benefit. Nothing that I can see.
This project will deliver retail (not likely to be affordable to local businesses), senior assisted housing (luxury). hotel (luxury), and condos (luxury). Condos are relatively new to the DMC district, but everything else is already being built around Rochester.
Here are some opportunities we could pursue, but are not:
- Opportunities for local businesses to have space in the development
- Living wages
- Affordable Housing
- Other community benefits
My guess is that the project will get TIF with or without me. Staver, Hruska, and Hickey have supported basically every TIF ask. Bilderback & Johnson have supported most, including the bailout to Javon Bea (when escalating development costs would have reduced his rate of return from 9% to 7%). CM Johnson subsequently has said she does not support that one based on what she knows now. Campion and I are asking for better TIF restraint, but I am skeptical that we can head this off.