The hub of plannerspeak, the Met Council, has so far not had mainstream media connecting its name and myth-system with the tanked-out failure the City of Ramsey is presently mopping up. Too bad. Those folks surely took their bows up front and repeatedly, but less and less so, as the play played out.
That should change, if folks sincerely and wisely examine that governing body's past core premises, and the live-as-built-on-the-ground result(s), metro-wide, then project corpses will be seen to litter the landscape, each fathered by the young Mondale-et al. pack and their view of what we should want, vs. what we actually might prefer (as if actual citizenry preferences are something that is somehow irrelevant or immaterial to what they as planners think and do and want to see happen).
Reality meets Godzilla, is my term for what's now happening.
Can Godzilla prevail? Duck responsibility for its havoc? Time will tell.
At any rate, the Sakry report in the Anoka County Union is also here, at another ABC newspaper outlet.
PiPress weighs in online, here, as source for this excerpt:
Ramsey buys half of 322 acres for stalled development Town Center
Officials still want mix of housing, retail, parks
By Brady Gervais - email@example.com
Posted: 03/19/2009 12:01:00 AM CDT
The city council agreed Tuesday to purchase nearly 150 acres and settle its lawsuit with Minnwest Corp., of Minnetonka, which has held the $35 million mortgage on a large chunk of the project. Acquiring the vacant land allows the city to work with private developers to move the project forward, said Ramsey Administrator Kurt Ulrich.
Minnwest had been scheduling and postponing foreclosure sales for a year and a half.
Town Center — with its plan for 2,800 homes, shops, civic buildings and parks — was supposed to be a model of suburban downtown planning. But the project has suffered delays, debt, the death of a developer and questionable financing.
"Regardless of the past history of this project, our citizens expect us to change its course and position this important section of our city for a successful future," said Mayor Bob Ramsey, who was elected in November.
Bob can say that; but I don't expect that at all.
I expect city government having to wait, for quite some time and to be testing the waters repeatedly to see if any interest exists in taking a chance and buying from Ramsey with profit-making intent.
I expect that course, patient and prudent waiting, to continue - without any change in course unless the city wastes more cash trying to induce something the market will not yield - trying to push on a string with a mountain of taxpayer cash doing the pushing.
I don't expect that, or at least I hope against it. The Gervis-PiPress report continues:
Closing on the deal is scheduled for June 26, [City Administrator Kurt Ulrich] said.
"We're making the best of a bad situation," said Russ Bushman, Minnwest's chief credit officer.
The city plans to pay for the land by using back taxes owed by the lenders, proceeds from a letter of credit and internal funds.
What, no smoke and mirrors? How quaint, for that locale and project history. PiPress concludes:
"There's obviously risk here — there's no doubt. But the reality is it was a good purchase price," [Mayor] Ramsey said. "This will at least allow development to happen."
Various parties have shown interest in some of the parcels, he said. The city is looking for a firm to lead development.
Officials still want Town Center to be a mix of housing, retail, office and park space.
Taking things out of total limbo will "at least allow development to happen," as the new mayor observes. Expecting anything quick and decisive is a separate thing than allowing an improbable chance of it.
The updated Strib report by Jim Adams, here, mentions:
The city will pay $6.75 million for the remaining 148 acres of undeveloped land to a bank group that had foreclosed on a $35 million loan.
"At this price it was a good deal for the city," Mayor Bob Ramsey said. "With the city's action, we ensure there is opportunity for private entities to develop our Town Center and protect the city's previous investments.''
The City Council approved the deal Tuesday night by a 6-0 vote, with one member absent, the mayor said. The council also sits as the Housing and Redevelopment Authority that will own and help develop the land.
The agreement settles disputes with MinnWest Bank Central and about 20 banks it represents. The banks had sued to loosen city development restrictions on the land.
"I am pleased,'' said Russ Bushman, MinnWest's chief credit officer. "It's something that we have worked on with the city for the past five months. We are glad to see it come to a conclusion."
The banks will buy the property at a sheriff's foreclosure sale Friday and then sell it to the city, probably at a June closing, Bushman said. He said the banks will have to write off the balance of the foreclosed loan or seek recovery, possibly from the estate of developer Bruce Nedegaard.
The banks foreclosed after Nedegaard filed for bankruptcy in 2006 and died shortly afterward. A few developers have talked to the city since the project stalled, City Administrator Kurt Ulrich said. Once the city has clear title to the land, developers will be sought to buy part or all of the site and get it back on tax rolls, he said.
"It's an investment in the community," Ulrich said. "The city believes the project can be successful and establish an identity for Ramsey for many years to come."
There's more in the Strib item, so read it, again, this link.
That's all reporting I have seen, aside from the City's website. Any reader knowing of other links is asked to leave a comment giving link info.
Yes, that term has usage in another context. However, we live in interesting times, and it appears that Anoka County civic architecture looks to be child's play.
The previously posted update has been removed.