Comments (4) 9:30 AM posted by admin |
I was sitting around the house wondering why someone doesn’t turn Motor Wheel into a 1,500+ seat performance space when the phone rang.
CALLER: What’s all this talk I hear about you putting a Burger King on Water Street?
ME: I’m putting a Burger King on Water Street?
CALLER: No. I read that City Council was going to put a Burger King on Water Street. Is that true?
ME: Wait a second. Where did you read this? And no, it’s not true. I mean we’re not even scheduled to vote on selling property tomorrow. Seriously, where did you read this?
CALLER: It was on the internet somewhere. I read that City Council was going to sell some property to Burger King.
ME: Listen. At Tuesday’s Council meeting we are getting an update on what’s been happening with the entire project. And, yes, there are supposed to be Burger King people there, but nothing is going to happen in terms of a sale.
CALLER: But aren’t you guys going to sell it to them anyway regardless of whether it’s this week or in April?
ME: Have you even talked to anyone on Council about this?
CALLER: Um, no, but …
ME: But nothing. How can you say we are going to do something if you haven’t even spoken to anyone about this? What kind of due diligence have you done? Or are you just making stuff up?
CALLER: You know I hate that phrase “due diligence.” It sounds so corporate-speak.
ME: Have you talked to anyone else on Council about this?
CALLER: Um, no.
ME: Then why are saying this is going to happen?
CALLER: I read it on the internet.
ME: Oh, Christ. Listen. You know you shouldn’t believe stuff you read on the internet.
CALLER: But people are talking.
ME: I don’t know of anyone on Council who is in favor of this.
ME: Why can’t you call one of the other people? Why are you always calling me?
ME: This isn’t even a question of whether or not Burger King fits the concept of the site. This is much more basic than that. This project doesn’t get us very much tax revenue. The purchase price won’t even pay for adequate infrastructure. There isn’t even anything remotely appealing about this.
CALLER: What do you mean infrastructure?
ME: Now that the City is the developer, we are responsible for all of that. The most basic infrastructure like roads, sewer, storm water, and utilities is going cost nearly $2M for the entire site. This parcel is only in the neighborhood of $400K. That wouldn’t pay for anything. You know that KFC across the street?
ME: It brings in $35K a year in taxes with less than half coming to the City. Even if that was on Water Street and the City was able to capture more, the total take would be less than $30K. You think we’re going to do this for $30K?
CALLER: But isn’t that property part of the DDA now? Can’t you capture more money that way?
ME: The floor for that property is around $3M. We need more than $3M in development before we can even begin to get the DDA capture. I’m not a Burger King expert, but I don’t see this one being the Taj Mahal of Ypsilanti Burger Kings.
CALLER: I just read that you guys need to do something in order to show progress.
ME: Are you saying we’d do something stupid just to show progress? What kind of logic is that?
CALLER: I’m just telling you what I read. Doesn’t your secret Water Street committee needs to show activity?
ME: Where are you getting this stuff?
CALLER: I told you. I read it on the internet.
ME: First of all, it’s not my secret Water Street committee. It’s Pete’s. Secondly, it’s not Pete’s secret Water Street committee either. This is a committee the City Manager asked be created in order to make it easier to share information. Do you even know how our City government works?
CALLER: What do you mean?
ME: After eight years of not much happening with the project, Council asked for proposals and selected a firm to market the property. They are the ones advertising this project and soliciting ideas for development. The most interested developers like Burger King, the student housing, and the senior living is what they’ve been able to stir up. Did you think I was out there calling Burger King trying to get them to move down the street?
CALLER: Well, sort of that. That’s what I read.
ME: In the past year, the City has received a million dollars in grant money. All of those buildings on the site will be demolished by summer.
CALLER: It won’t look like a war zone anymore? Does this mean that Robert DeNiro won’t be filming in Ypsilanti anymore?
ME: I don’t know. Call him.
CALLER: Why would someone say these things if they weren’t true?
ME: I don’t know. I guess people are stu…Am I on speaker phone?
ME: Who else is listening?
CALLER: Your father is on the line too.
ME: Mom… Hi, Dad.
ME: Are you reading the same stuff on the internet like Mom is?
DAD: You know I only use the internet for off-shore gambling.
ME: Good. Good.
MOM: So will you promise me that you won’t sell any property in Water Street to a fast food chain?
ME: Not even Sonic? I’m joking. I’m joking.
MOM: I’m serious. I want you to promise me. I read you only represent yourself and that you only take care of your friends. I’m your friend aren’t I? Well…aren’t I?
ME: You know, you don’t even live here. I don’t know why you are hassling me like this. Do you have these kinds of conversations with Chris? And of course I represent everyone — whether they like it or not.
ME: Oh, and will I be able to count on you for a big campaign contr…
ME: Aww. She hung up on me.
If you are not doing anything this evening, I’d encourage you to stop by City Hall around 7PM and hear the latest on the Water Street project. I also read somewhere that Council will be kicking puppies at some point tonight as well.
It should be fun. Or at least that’s what I read.