Loveland's Independent News Source
Larimer County Pulling Out of
South Catalyst Project?
Loveland - August 27, 2014

LovelandPolitics has obtained a memorandum by Loveland City Manager Bill Cahill, sent earlier this
week, revealing the city's expectations for an agreement with Larimer County he plans to brief
Loveland's City Council on during their September 1, 2015 meeting.   
read the memorandum

Cahill's leaked negotiations strategy memorandum may be OBE (Overcome By Events) by the time
Loveland's City Council meets to deliberate on the final terms of their proposed IGA
(Inter-Governmental Agreement) with Larimer County regarding the location of a county building in
the city's already half-aborted South Catalyst Project.

County officials who were privy to the city's internal memorandum found the terms "preposterous" and
have already begun laying the groundwork to re-locate their under-sized county services center in
downtown Loveland to property the county owns near Loveland Police and Court buildings.  One county
official said he knew the South Catalyst project was in trouble when New Jersey Developer (the sole
bidder) Michael's Development pulled out of the project around the same time owners were unwilling
to sell at prices and terms proposed by the City of Loveland.

City Economic Development staffer, Mike Scholl, who was replaced with Betsey Hale to lead the project
described for Loveland's City Council back in 2013 the four legs of the 'South Catalyst' project as;

1. A private developer (Michael's) to partner with the city,

2. Larimer County exchanging its two properties in downtown (6th & Lincoln building and parking lot
at 6th & Railroad) for a lot in the project to construct a new building (while City of Loveland provides

3.  A
"general willingness" by existing owners to sell their properties to the City of Loveland which
in-turn would deliver those properties to the developer.  (instead councilors met with property owners
threatening to use eminent domain if they didn't sell)

4.  Large employer recruited by developer to locate primary jobs near the new county building and
provide patrons for the retail business to generate sales taxes for the downtown (50% go directly back
into downtown revitalization).

Numbers 1, 3 and 4 above have already been removed leaving only the property exchange with the
Larimer County and the county's building as the one sure piece of the project to proceed as originally
planned.  Now it appears the county's participation is not only in jeopardy but already lost due to Cahill
overplaying the city's hand and infuriating Larimer County's professional staff who say they cannot
trust the City of Loveland any longer.

Cahill Infuriates Larimer County Officials

Below are the details Cahill will present to Loveland's City Council which county officials have
confirmed make their participation in the South Catalyst Project DOA (dead on arrival);

1. The parking garage (which the city previously promised will be for the county building) will now be
"non-exclusive" for county use but available to anyone especially commercial tenants who are unable or
unwilling to incorporate adequate parking into their own plans.  To add injury to insult, Cahill is
suggesting the city will charge Larimer County to lease their "free" parking spaces

2. City of Loveland officials will have 'open range' rights to Larimer County's offices to utilize open
meeting rooms, gather for meetings and even office space that is not occupied by county officials

3. City of Loveland will own the rights to the exterior of Larimer County's building to add antennas,
signs and even a self-congratulatory sign mandated by the city where county officials thank the City of
Loveland for the revitalization

4.  All necessary modifications to the GLIC ditch on the south edge of the property will be the county's
responsibility without any assistance from the City of Loveland

Especially offensive to Larimer County were the recent public statements by Loveland City Council
members alleging the county has not been a good partner.  See time line to the right of this story
assembled by Larimer County staff tracking the gyrations of Loveland's mercurial business plan.

Feeling like the victim of a Russian mail-order bride, county staff point-out their stormy marriage with
Loveland may have only been a ruse to enable Loveland officials to ply eminent domain upon unwilling
property owners.  Use of eminent domain for purely private development (Kelo vs. New London) while
legal is still very controversial and a career killer to politicians from both sides of the political
spectrum.  Those officials who invoked threats of eminent domain upon uncooperative property owners
for the South Catalyst Project used the county's participation or "governmental purpose" as their
political cover.  

Now that most of the remaining property owners have capitulated to the city's demands, Cahill is giving
the county hell much like a Russian mail-order bride after obtaining her U.S. Citizenship.  Following the
loss of the Michael's group, many on council have questioned Cahill's leadership in the one area he is
supposed to be an expert.  While Cahill's defenders on council point-out his failure to manage the police
department adequately is excusable given his lack of experience as a city manager, his inability to hold
the South Catalyst Project together is perplexing since they selected him for his expertise in urban

The demise of the South Catalyst Project may cause Cahill's staunch supporters on council to stumble
and join colleagues Mckean, Krenning and Clark in their determination to find a stronger leader for the
Embattled Loveland City Manager, Bill Cahill, may
have overplayed his hand with Larimer County on the
South Catalyst Project
August 27, 2015 (Larimer County internal Document)

3/2013:        County begins looking for options in Downtown LV
5/2013:        City brings Civic City Plaza to the table, but quickly
retracted after first meeting that involved the Parks.
6/2013:        Loveland asks the County to consider being part of
South Catalyst project and build a new county office
8/2013:        County budgets building at $13.5M at county owned
property on 10th Street adjacent to P&C.
8/2013:         Board approves ballot issue to ask voters if we can
build a new courthouse
11/2013:        Voters approve the ballot issue and County holds
internal kickoff meeting
11/2013:        Loveland begins property acquisition – indicates
completion in six months
12/2013:        City provides first draft of IGA and introduces
Michaels Group as proposed developer for the project and
negotiations begin
1/2014:        City holds reception to discuss project and officially
selects Michaels Group as developer
3/2014:        City holds kickoff meeting with all parties (Developer,
City’s architect, RNL, and County).  Projections are that all
properties will be under contract by mid-2014, commencement of
construction 3/2015 and completion 8/2016
5/2014:        County engages consultant team for the project
5/2014:        Developer indicates market study is complete
6/2014:        County commences programming with the internal
business groups
9/2014:        County Guiding Principles formed for the project:
Community Connection – serve the community efficiently and
Civic Awareness – Enduring symbol of the community
Thoughtful Integration: collaborative and inclusive process
9/2014:        County holds design charrette and selects 2 blocking
diagram options
12/2014:        Review of budget for downtown project indicates
$15M and County Commissioners allocate funding
12/2014:        City and Developer hold site charrette
1/2015:        Loveland requests that we add Courts and District
Attorney to the project with Loveland agreeing to take on the
additional cost.
1/2015:        County receives approval from the BOCC for
complete design services for the project
2/2015:        Preliminary blocking diagrams provided to City to
include Courts based on existing conditions to be validated at a
later date
2/2015:        City is asked to implement a parking and traffic study
– none done to date
2/2015:        Developer/City/County identify new schedule for
project with property acquisitions to be completed by 4/2015,
construction commencing 2/2016 and completion 2/2017
3/2015:        County began programming with Courts and DA
4/2015:        All parties agree to have a neutral Master Planner
sketch the entire project. Plan is constructed with all parties.
County is provided a 1/2 block between 2nd and 3rd.
4/2015        Loveland rejects the Master Plan proposal.
5/2015:        County staff and county supported architect firm
spend considerable time on concept plans to include the
Courts/DA in our project
6/2015:        Loveland decides to not proceed with Courts/DA
because of identified costs
7/2015:        City conducts survey of 6th Street County employees
as part of Economic Development efforts
7/2015        Larimer County proceeds with plans for ½ of block two
however Loveland only offers ¼ of block two.
7/2015:        Larimer County agrees to move to block one despite
the small amount of space as it meets most of guiding principles
8/2015:        City removes Michaels Group from project
8/2015        Larimer County requests Loveland to perform a
parking study, that the IGA will include assurances that the
County will have adequate (number specific) public and
employee parking and location of parking.  Larimer County also
requested that the City of Loveland take financial responsibility of
covering the first street ditch and annual maintenance.
8/2015        Newspaper article covering Loveland council meeting
states that Loveland may not want County building
8/2015:        The County project team recommended the building
locate at an alternate location for the following reasons:
1.        County’s objective to provide a building that meets County
guiding principles may be in conflict with the City’s ability to
collect adequate property tax
2.        Lack of a South Catalyst Master-plan for downtown and
uncertainty of future plans
3.        Excessive timeline delays by the City of Loveland including
site acquisitions, changing building requests, lack of a developer,
4.        County is a long term property owner with growth potential
that will be compromised with the site constraints of the 1st
Street location.
5.        Construction costs continue to escalate and our allocated
budget is at risk