If Colorado is a kingdom and Denver is the King, Mayor Hancock is the Paladin knight charged with protecting interests of the king. His Knights Templar are the city council members fighting for duty and deity, maintaining their devotion to the citizens of Denver, without coercion, monetary reward or promises of land in Highlands ranch, they idealize what is best for the long-term good of the people of our fair land in middle earth Colorado. The kingdom is proposing a new castle on Colorado Blvd. and 9th Avenue, which will bring jobs, much needed tax revenue, more affordable food and will support local organic farmers who are edged out of the stiff battle for parking space in the bitter war with the Fiefdom Market of Cherry Creek Farmers.
Because the proposed castle is located in the middle of the town, 200 towns people have begun to throw tomatoes at the Paladin and his knights because they feel the new castle stands for something they do not like. They want the remains of the old University of Colorado Hospital to continue to be blighted and dangerous, sucking the life out of a vibrant community, and denying the rest of the towns people the riches of a responsibly planned urban redevelopment.
The 200 redshirts say, having a Walmart on the project will destroy their middle-class neighborhood; increase crime, traffic and noise; and hurt small, local businesses.” as written in the article by By John Mossman The Denver Post
There has not been one instance of crime in any of the areas in Colorado where new stores are, so far, and we are pleased we will have a 24 hr. pharmacy to go to in the neighborhood during an all-nighter with the grandkids’s croup.
In an Article by Dean Saitta “Alas, the Redshirts aren’t interested in compromise, but might not have any constructive ideas that would lead to one anyway. Witness this week’s latest public meeting at Hill Middle School. The agenda was to talk traffic and clarify the widely misunderstood concept of TIF, not tenants, but the Redshirts were really all about Walmart…. But in the back row where I sat there was near continuous boo-birding, cat-calling, at least one vulgar play on developer Jeff Fuqua’s last name, and not much actual listening.”
Not many ideas to bring to the table other than “They” will invade our tranquil community and we will be doomed for all eternity. The more meetings we have with the anti-Walmart redshirts, the less we feel for their genuine concern, especially when we overheard one ranting opponent saying to the city council members, “I will have you heads”. Now this is really getting medieval!”
By reading all the mainstream Denver sound-bitten headlines, one would think this is just another NIMBY issue by anti-Walmart zealots.
Neighbors In Denver Won’t Back Down In Walmart Fight
Debate rages over proposed Walmart
Anti-Walmart yard signs appear, and disappear, in east Denver
But this really isn’t about NIMBY or even Walmart. Walmart can already build at 9th and Colorado. Fuqua said “We talked to a number of candidates. We took this plan to the large boxes and told them this is what you have to build. Walmart came into the picture late, and Walmart is the only one creative enough and willing to live with the constraints and increased costs of this project.” If the project does not receive approval from the council members, and the project goes ahead anyway (which it can), who knows what the design or services will or will not be.
Perhaps all this is window dressing and the outcome is already a done deal. From what we’ve heard, the only council members to vote against this will be the two from the area and probably the at-large members. The rest don’t care. If they do vote against it, we’re not sure why they would, unless this is pure political pressure to please some very loud constituents.
If Hancock has pushed this through then he is a coward for not coming out and saying what he really thinks. There has been no leadership from him; either he is for or against.
After 10 years, we all agree something has to happen. We can’t wait for three more, thinking maybe something then will happen. It costs the city way too much to have the space idle. Fuqua has stepped up where no one else has. If the mayor really was a leader, he would have jumped on this a long time ago and worked with the state and private businesses to form a plan and a vision for such a jewel. He hasn’t, which is sad, so you gotta give Fuqua credit for stepping up. If others don’t like it, then let them step up. But like we said, too bad the mayor isn’t in front of this, instead he’s behind and hiding.
The real issue is the way in which it will be funded. Why isn’t the Mayor discussing this. Either the developer can pay the total amount, or the residents of Denver will help fund with Tax Increment Financing, (TIF). TIF uses future gains in taxes to subsidize the Walmart development, which is projected to create the conditions for gains. Once the new Walmart is completed and operational the result will increase the value of all the businesses along Colorado and 8th Avenue. Cloud 9 will surely get more business and will have to get their credit card machine working so they can process more custard to satisfy more happy customers.
Sales-tax revenue will also increase, and jobs will be added. This is proven all across the country where responsible redevelopment occurs.
TIF subsidizes redevelopment, infrastructure, and other community-improvement in many other countries, not just in the US and certainly not just in Colorado. Similar efforts are used around the world to get things accomplished. TIF is often designed for funding improvements in blighted, underdeveloped, or underutilized parts of a city where development might otherwise not occur.
We heard at one of the meetings, we’d rather have blight than Walmart.” Really?
Over the past month, we spoke with families close to the proposed development, and of course there are mixed views if people tell the truth – even within households, but two moms’ told us that their two teenage boys had been skateboarding in one of the buildings, and had climbed in through a window. The boys claimed, “It was really creepy, papers and chairs all thrown around, it was just like a zombie apocalypse, or terrorists or something.”
It instantly reminded us of the spelunkers and urban explorers who continue to venture into the abandoned Gates building. Patricia Calhoun wrote “In September 2007, 23-year-old Metro State student John Polzin and two other urban adventurers decided to explore the abandoned building; Polzin wound up falling through a hole in the floor and was so badly injured he died a month later.”
The Gates plant was supposed to be a marvel in urban architecture and mixed use, but Cherokee could not continue when the economy went south. Now look at it. Will the University of Colorado Hospital campus fall into the same disrepair, or even worse, one of the moms learns that her son is seriously injured in one of the many buildings on the 28 acres. Next thing we know the Discovery Channel will do a feature on the haunted, abandoned, burned out, graffiti-ed, squatted buildings.
Zombies and squatters aside, TIF creates funding for public or private projects by borrowing against the future increase in these property-tax revenues. From the Denver Urban Renewal authority web site:
How Is Redevelopment Financed?
The primary tool used in Denver and throughout the state to finance redevelopment efforts is tax increment financing (TIF). TIF, the net new tax revenues generated by a redevelopment project, is used to fill the gap between the total cost of a project and the level of private financing the project can support. TIF enables redevelopment agencies like DURA to pledge tax increment generated by a redevelopment to pay off bonds or reimburse developers for eligible project costs if the project brings in new revenue. In either case, TIF revenues generally are used for improvements associated with the redevelopment that benefit the public, including site acquisition and clearance; construction and/or reconstruction of streets, utilities, parks or other public infrastructure; and the removal of hazardous materials or conditions.
How does TIF work?
Under this financing mechanism, the level of property and/or municipal sales tax collections in a project area before redevelopment is set as a base and the new tax revenues expected to be generated are estimated. The difference between the base and the increased taxes collected as a result of the redevelopment project constitute the “tax increment.” The base, adjusted every two years in connection with the reassessment process, continues to be paid to the normal taxing entities, while the increment is used for a specified period of time to pay off bonds or to reimburse a developer for a portion of their costs.
Many projects in Denver have been funded with TIF including, The Denver Dry Building, Lowry, Pavilions, Highlands Garden Village, Mercantile Square, The Lowenstein Theatre, 38th and York Street and DIA.
According to the DBJ, TIF was used in 85 percent of the urban renewal projects undertaken by Colorado cities, many of which would never happen without the public’s help. The report also found property values increased in and around most of the areas where TIF was used.
Now if you are still cold to the idea after understanding the facts, maybe Mayor Hancock should just build a wall around the whole piece of land, and throw all the incarcerated individuals in. Not only would Snake Plissken have company, but the Mayor would really be a hero by saving Denver taxpayers millions each year…
Whether or not Hancock has this development already wrapped up and the meetings are just window dressing to pave the way, or it truly is a gesture of good will by Fuqua to understand the concerns of the neighbors and cooperate, we urge you to come to the next public meeting.
Forget the formalities, why don’t we just all bring tomatoes and have the second biggest food fight in the world and turn the intersection of Colorado and 9th into the Plaza Del Pueblo. Now wouldn’t that be more fun and productive than muffled catcalls at Hill?
Maybe Hancock should relinquish the Mayorship to Fuqua for standing up and doing what is right.
- Traffic, public financing on agenda at 9th and Colorado public meeting (denverpost.com)
- Anti-Walmart yard signs appear, and disappear, in east Denver (denverpost.com)
- Hancock tells Council it’s time to build 9th and Colorado project (denverpost.com)
- Residents concerned about Walmart in Denver redevelopment plan (kdvr.com)
- Belcaro gets eco-friendly tenant: Office Depot. (downmainstreet.com)
- Eye-sore in Cherry Creek (downmainstreet.com)
- The Amazing Clinch (downmainstreet.com)
- Smaller, ‘urban’ Walmart proposed for Denver draws criticism (kdvr.com)
- Proposed Walmart Gets Icy Reception From Neighbors (denver.cbslocal.com)
- Soaring a Mile High: Introducing Colorado One (blogsouthwest.com)