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|Anatomy of Failure
Follow the stories tracking the McWhinney's
crippled plan to convince the community their
agreement with the city needed to be amended to
make Grand Station a reality
1. Chad McWhinney and staff answer questions to the
Aug. 1. Critical questions abound -Read Story
2. Hear McWhinney answer questions about
LovelandPolitics.com (click for audio) or click here to see
YouTube video Chad mentions during the meeting Aug.
1, linked to LovelandPolitics.com
3. READ WHAT IS BEING PROPOSED
Loveland - Sept. 2007
After a lengthy meeting involving seemingly endless presentations by McWhinney
Enterprise employees, interrupted occasionally by Chad McWhinney, the Loveland City
Council again retreated into their second secret meeting in as many weeks to discuss a
controversial proposal by the McWhinneys to amend their agreements with the city.
The controversial proposal includes allowing the McWhinneys to use sales tax dollars and
property taxes collected through their quasi-governmental entity (Improvement District)
to fund the building of a multi-story parking garage for the already announced Grand
Station development East of I-25.
Missing from the discussion was the controversial "trolley to nowhere" that stirred so
much controversy in the community before being pulled from the plan until after the city
council elections in November. Nonetheless, the remaining items were not without their
detractors -- among them Mayor Larry Walsh.
As is the custom in Loveland, the city council allowed the developer unlimited time to
meander over the same material for most of the evening using charts, graphs and other
visual aids. The public wasn't invited to comment until the end of the evening when two
residents opposed to the changes were followed by multiple Centerra tenants, friends and
employees who voiced their support for the subsidy of the parking garage at Grand
Station. The premise of many speakers “similar to their trolley pitch last month to the
council“ was that absent a city subsidy a project of this magnitude was impossible.
The same theme echoed during the developer presentations but Rich Shannon, a
community lobbyist for McWhinney, was stopped dead in his tracks by Mayor Walsh.
Walsh complained that the Outlet Mall partnering (city council jargon for tax subsidy) was
appropriate because they brought retail which in-turn generates important sales tax
revenue for the City of Loveland. He went on to contrast the Outlet Malls with Grand
Station where a majority of the development will be business offices and residential uses.
He asked the question, therefore, "why do we need to subsidize it?" The Mayor also
responded to one response by Shannon by stating that developments in Loveland provide
a similar revenue stream that were not incentivised, Walsh than asked Shannon why he
thought his company was different.
Mayor Walsh also challenged Shannon's sales pitch by questioning the assumption that
people from a 50 mile radius will come to Loveland to shop once Grand Station is
complete. The Mayor stated that a lot is happening in North Denver that will keep those
people in Denver.
At this point in the meeting Chad McWhinney jumped-up and motioned to his employee,
Rich Shannon, to vacate the lectern where he was speaking. McWhinney jumped onto
Walsh's comments by saying, "we think success comes to those who get in-front of the
He then addressed Walsh directly by stating, "You and I have been working together for
17 years and I intend to be here a lot longer." He continued by explaining 65 new
shopping developments are currently being built or planned along the I-25 corridor. The
Mayor retorted, "The issue I have is you are asking carte blanch for $79 million for
Chad McWhinney responded, "Well, revenue wasn't the only purpose of the MFA" and he
went on to point out that bringing primary jobs to the area was also a goal of the original
MFA. During McWhinney's explanation, Pielin bobbed his head up and down in a motion
suggesting he strongly agreed.
Again the Mayor found his composure to respond that the original MFA didn't include
parking as an incentive and was joined by City Manager Don Williams who added the
comment that using the money for parking structures was specifically prohibited in the
Councilman Klassen broke the argument by reminding his fellow councilmen that the
approval would not be for any specific amount of money but instead they were being
asked to approve a concept of using certain public monies for a parking structure at
Grand Station. McWhinney agreed that all he had were projections so real bids with
inflation added for time would, in fact, likely exceed the figure they were discussing.
After eventually allowing public comments, the Council hurried into an executive session
at the behest of Mayor Pro Tem Pielin to discuss the matter and stated they were likely not
going to take any action that evening. Councilman Walt Skowron, as before, voted against
the closed door meeting.
|Council Again Retreats Into Secret
Session to Discuss MFA Changes For
McWhinney's Grand Station
|Richard Shannon, McWhinney employee, shows
Loveland City Council the 65 proposed developments
along the I-25 corrider in Norther Colorado during Aug.
28, 2007 meeting.
|Slide show showing McWhinney's concept for Grand Station
presented to Loveland City Council August 28, 2007
|Stunned by Mayor Walsh's comments to Chad
Mchinney, Councilwoman Jan Brown looked like she
had seen a ghost. Below Councilwoman Jan Brown is
seen in a huddle with Chad McWhinney and other
McWhinney loyalists during the break in the meeitng
Aug. 28, 2007.
|Setting a course of his own, Mayor Walsh stunned colleagues when he
questioned the purpose of subsidizing a private parking garage for the
McWhinney's Grand Station development.