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April Fool's Day - JAX Incentive Request to Be Considered By Council
JAX Mercantile of Ft. Collins has requested a modest incentive from Loveland's City Council to fill the empty 54,000 sq ft in the old ShopKo shopping center building. They intend on combining the farm and ranch and outdoor gear products they offer in two seperate stores in Ft. Collins in a single store in Loveland.

Read the story and make any comments either before or after the meeting. Most people are very excited to finally have a local retailer expanding in Loveland who offers a unique product blend and experience instead of another cookie cutter bi box store the McWhinneys have drawn to Centerra.

The proximity to downtown and fact it will fill a current blight caused by too much development in east Loveland are all positives. Any thoughts?

2008-04-01 14:44:31 GMT
Comments (16 total)
Great pouints all! JAX is unique and exactly what we need in that part of Loveland! Everyone I know is excited about the prospect.

Mayor Pielin hasn't received any campaign contributions from JAX so expect more than the average due dilligence questions from him tonight. He is always anxious to protect texpayers when someone who didn't give him money wants a business incentive.
2008-04-01 16:33:18 GMT
Yes, very good points all, for once they make a good move. Modest incentive for the right kind of business in the right place. No disagreement here. I think proof that this site can be supportive of an action when its spot on, wonder what Rousey has to say about that point.
2008-04-03 03:12:39 GMT
The point that should be made here though is that that area, the old Shopko, the vacant Albertsons and the whole blighted 34 strip to 287 and the sugar factory should all have been put into a legitimate URA. The reason that it hasn't is because the City spent all its political capital in putting the McW land under a URA. If that area were put under a URA, and combined with the downtown URA, all the increment could be captured and invested in upgrading the old 34 strip and downtown. This proposal was made at the staff level but was not supported by Don Williams due to the ongoing political heat the City was taking from the County on the McW URA. Another unintended consequence of the McW cornfield blight move. This should still be initiated before JAX makes its investment, and the property tax TIF could be captured and reinvested in the area. I'd like to hear from Rousey why the City isn't taking the initiative to put that area under a URA to capture the increment now that investment is coming forward.
2008-04-03 03:36:24 GMT
The entire counicl voted in favor of the Jax incentive package...that includes me. We approved a similar package for both Thunder Mountain and Lowes. It made sense then as it does now.

The sugar factory...maybe...but the 34 corridor from Albertsons to 287 under URA control? It would not be allowed based on state requirements. Although I agree that some areas need to be redeveloped. I would love to see someone like Jax come in with a proposal for the Albertsons property...any ideas?

Hey, it's nice that (so far) some of you actually agree with a council decision.
2008-04-03 13:10:31 GMT
Rousey, Whole Foods or another gourmet grocer would be nice for the Albertsons building. We really need a good market on that side of town.
2008-04-03 15:03:22 GMT
I agree as well. When I was in the Ft. Collins Whole Foods the other day they had a table where you could sign a form where you were from and where you would like to see another store.

We should organize a mass number of Lovelander's signing this sheet and suggesting the old Albertson's as a place to locate a Whole Food's in Loveland.
--Carl Jacobsen
2008-04-03 15:37:31 GMT
The entire 34 strip there and the sugar factory would be an easy justification for a blight determination, easier than the downtown determination, the start is already in place form the work Marostica did for the sugar factory. It would take a planner a few day's effort to document the conditions and write the report, I've done them, there's nothing in state law to prohibit that area, there are vacant buildings, inadequate infrastructure, poorly configured land parcels (area adjacent to Shopko) there's no excuse on technical grounds, the only excuse is Williams won't support it, tell the truth Rousey. Whole Foods has looked at the Albersons site, the problem is the owner is sitting on a lease, Albersons is still paying rent so they're not motivated. Again if the City were aggressive in upgrading that area they could be enticed, it may also take playing hard ball with the land owner, he has no motivation as long as Albersons is paying rent, again a lack of leadership whenever it comes to anything that does not involve McWhinney.
2008-04-04 02:47:20 GMT
Sorry but I disagree. Granted there are areas along 34 that would meet the requirements but the entire strip? Does that include Home Depot, Sams Club, Heritage Ford, McGraffs, Office Max and others?

Then we're back to the argument that by creating more URAs we're taking away future property tax dollars that help support infrastructure and schools funding...which most of you were against.....can't have it both ways. Certain areas are ripe for redvelopment via sales tax sharing like Jax and hopefully it will happen but not by trying to include the entire 34 strip into one big URA.

I'm not familiar with Whole Foods looking at you may be correct but I know Whole Foods is tough to get located in an area.

I won't argue or debate the McWhinney just doesn't make sense. Too many of you equate anything bad that happens or anything good that doesn't happen with McWhinneys....again, that just doesn't make any sense and anything I would say to you would not make a difference in your beliefs
2008-04-05 13:27:34 GMT
"Too many of you equate anything bad that happens...with McWhinney"

Poag & McEwen (the people who invented lifestyle centers and are the managing partners in Centerra) told you at a public meeting - not just us.

They told you at a public Council meeting that an automatic 4,000 undeveloped acres getting the tax incentives before plans were even presented was "unheard of" through out this entire country.

He tried to help you understand that PROJECTS not a family's entire real estate holdings are given incentives only when needed.

Giving the McWhinney family automatic incentives on nearly everything they inherited at the cost of working people in Loveland for the next 25 years is a travesty.

You even said it above - we need those taxes so if you are unwilling to declare blight and giveaway taxes to all the properties around the old sugar beet processing center - why any open farmland the McWhinney boys got from Grandpa McWhinney?

You have soiled the reputation of this town and burdened an entire generation of future Loveland taxpayers by favoring a wealthy family over not only your hard working constituents but people you will never legally represent into the future after leaving office. Perhaps even after you have passed from this earth will others be paying for your misdeed.

You have forsaken the people you were elected to represent. Please, try and not add insult to injury by pretending that our anger is unjustified. Poag & McEwen and other very knowledgeable and experienced developers were appalled by your actions. All you owe us now is a sincere apology and some effort to right this terrible wrong before leaving Council.
2008-04-06 06:03:10 GMT
How can you justify or suggest putting the entire 34 strip into a URA and then saying the council should not have put the McWhinney's holdings into one? One includes developments that are doing well and the other was bare land with no development.

My only argument was putting the entire 34 corridor into a URA (as suggested above) didn't make sense and still doesn't...then you tied the issue to the McWhinneys.

Poag and McEwen have a vested interest in not wanting any other similar development in the area...they own half of the promanade shops..which they also stated was doing better than any of their other wonder they are opposed to any Grand Station development...URA or not.

Back to the original issue...Jax in Loveland will be great and I would love to see other similar companies move into loveland and redevelop existing vacant properties.

And yes, the sugar beet property would do well under a URA..the last proposal asked for a couple of million dollars from I'm sure you are well aware of.

I think we both agree on the needed redevelopment of parts of the 34 corridor and that a URA is sometimes needed.
2008-04-06 13:25:24 GMT
"Ouch": Are you referring to the state law which was amended last year? If you recall (or know), the state law was amended to prevent the creation of URBAN renewal areas on farmland - it gives the County veto power over URA's on farmland. I believe our own Steve Johnson backed it.

Have you driven down 34 yet? Sure there are some OK developments, but there are also empty stores, parking lots with no landscape, flophouse motels, an elementary school that has 30,000 plus cars a day going by the playgound ... this is real Blight.

I agree the McWhinneys should not be vilified as people. It is not a question of their morality or personal lives either. They sought to make money, as any business should, and God knows they did. Where the failure occured was in city government. I know what the McWhinney brothers thought when they looked at our Council - "here are 9 chumps who we can take to the bank." And that's just what they did. I applaud your service, but remember its taxpayer money - not your money - you're playing with.

One problem is the man you hired - Don Williams - doesn't really understand these things and is out to prove something through his relationship with McWhinney's. I've heard him at meetings and he may have a silver tongue, but he doesn't really understand these URA's, the accounting behind it, or how retail markets work.

It's well known that the retail growth occured in Loveland after it hit 50,000 people - a benchmark in the big box retail industry. It's also well known that malls start seeing sales declines after 10 years or so, and most are failing after less than 20 years. I heard from someone who worked at the city government that city staff were fordidden from communicating this to Council because Don was worried of the effect on the Centerra deal. Why wasn't this discussed? You say the Poag & McEwan company has an agenda; did you ever think the McWhinneys have an agenda?

Then there is the business of the finance director who left under mysterious cricumstances two years ago. Everything's really hush-hush but I hear people at the city are whispering.

Sure there are things at Centerra - like the hospital and the open space - that are worth helping out. But this Council has put government in the role of retail developer. Centerra has built office buildings that are empty now. And the McStain development folded without ever being finished. Now there are rumors they want to create another URA on farmland. How much more can we give away? I hope the County vetos this one.

Everyone's heard the rumors that Grand Station will be maybe half the size they showed it as, and that it will be more like a big box shopping center - how much more retail can we support? Are you really ready to give away another $80 million of taxpayer money to this company? In a recession no less?

Ouch once wrote on this blog (before revealing his identity) something to the effect of, "I can't be a socialist because I want the government to give money to rich people." I may be an old warhorse who still believes in the value of the free market, so I ask - will you stand by those words at the next election?
--Concerned citizen
2008-04-07 02:49:03 GMT
Just one more thing - I heard Lincoln Place got built with only something like $1 million in subsidy, most of it for public things like the street improvements. And they turned down city money and built their own parking. All in an urban environment with a leaking gas tank in the ground. I wonder if anyone has done a comparison to Centerra?

They said Centerra was blight because the farm roads didn't haev curb-and-gutter and sidewalks. That makes the whole county blight.

And, that last phrase of that last comment was sarcasm. A free market government does not "give money to rich people," it lets them earn it. Government provides the public goods for all.
--Concerned Citizen II
2008-04-07 03:01:12 GMT
Ouch, one quick correction on something you stated above - Poag & McEwen said the SALES at Centerra were higher than the other developments they currently manage. That doesn't make it the most successful since it also has more square footage than the others they manage.

They pointed this put to you at the meeting and corrected either you or one of your colleagues when they stated what you did above that it is their most successful lifestyle center. Don Williams also frequently mistakes more sales with success as do people unfamiliar with the private sector.

As an example, you could own a small liquor store and I, for example, a K-Mart type retail store. My sales would be more than yours even when it is failing because the square footage is more, the capital invested is much more and my cost of sale and overhead are much more than yours. The liquor store could have much smaller sales but their profit (especially when measured against invested capital) could be high margin.

In other words, no. Centerra cannot yet be counted as a success financially yet. They have lots of open retail space and haven't even grown into it yet.
2008-04-07 03:08:56 GMT
Walter: I believe they said "most successful" as opposed to most "sales"...if they said sales then, of course, you are correct..."sales" do not always mean "success". But I also believe if you were to ask them, they would say it was also successful.

Either way, the Centerra development is not connected to JAX...JAX made a request to share sales tax revenue and council agreed (on first reading)....different size developments, different sales tax projections, different infrastructure requirements and a totally different request.

And no, I never said "I can't be a socialist because I want the government to give money to rich people"...when you use quotes, you are citing an acutual statement that was made.
2008-04-07 13:27:47 GMT
I didn't quote you on the last item - some else did.

On the other item, yes, I remember it vividly. Poag & McEwen corrected several councilors by stating they never said it was most successful but only had more sales. They also were telling you it was over-built for the market and they hoped the market could grow into the center in time. They were particularly concerned about Grand Station competing for tenants before Centerra could be made profitable.

At the same meeting, they offered to provide council a private "off-line" briefing about some current tenants and indicated they are not performing well. Specifically, I think they were referring to Dick's and possibly Barnes & Nobles. They told you some tenants may be leaving but didn't want to go into detail.

So, for the record, the managing partners of Centerra never said it was their most successful development. Instead, they told you it is on tender hooks and needs time to grow before more retail can be introduced to the area.
2008-04-07 14:03:19 GMT
The reason that the old 34 strip won't ever get put into a URA is because McW still wants to expand their URA to include several hundred acres of land east of Grand Station (the Grange Addition Petition) in their URA. That annexation and URA expansion has obviously stalled (the County went balistic) but as long as there's any prospect of that Williams won't support consideration of another URA. Again, as I said above, I do URA work professionally and I could write that blight determination in my sleep, from Madison or Boyd, including the Sugar Factory to U.S. 287 where it would join with the downtown URA that extends as far as the Dairy Queen (most people don't realize the downtown URA goes that far). Also, FYI, Grand Station is on hold in development review, they aren't paying their consultants and nothing is moving forward. Usually a developer doesn’t pay their consultants because of two reasons, they've abandoned the project, or they've run out of money or both.
2008-04-11 03:03:02 GMT
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