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mainonmain

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    Spartanburg, SC

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Whistle-Stop (3/14)

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  1. There was some last-minute haggling over the development agreement terms. All sorted out now.
  2. "(I'm not sure what the status is of the previously applied-for BUILD grant. " Did not win it.
  3. Office space isn't the only potential Class-A thing new infrastructure in that part of downtown is needed to support.
  4. I don't know how locked in the architectural renderings are to what they're thinking design-wise, but if this is where they're heading, I kind of like that it has a Wofford campus design feel. Situated right between the campus and Northside Station where there are Wofford residential units and eventually (if not already) plans for some type of Wofford curriculum/programming , this would provide a nice link. Not sure if the developer and Wofford have discussed trying to target tenants that would be attractive to college students, but that would make a lot of sense and the design "cues" would help make it feel like an extension of the main campus and hopefully encourage more students and professors to cross Church Street.
  5. Wonder if this is within a mile of city limits. Can you imagine pulling Milliken HQ, this development and USC Upstate into the city limits? The increase in tax base and population would be ... significant.
  6. Except in this case it wasn't that people came to the foundation with money and an idea. The foundation conjured up this idea then went searching for money for it. My point is, why not go out and make the case for an actual initiative or investment that would have a more direct impact on improving the community? Rather than raising money for a building whose utility and need is debatable, at best.
  7. Of course not. It's a private foundation. Doesn't change the fact they could be leveraging their resources to much greater impact in the community than by pouring them into a building that no one who is actually involved in the day-to-day work of community improvement and development had EVER identified as a need. It's statue-building, nothing more.
  8. It should be renamed the Center for Self-Aggrandizement. What a waste of resources that could be used to much more directly impact the community.
  9. "the value of compact urban development and how it pays for itself many times over compared to suburban development (ie: single family residential, walmart, etc). Spartanburg may not be aggressively annexing, but the city continues to invest in itself (e.g.: Northside), and it can be a place that generates lots of internal development. There is a ton of underutilized land within the city limits, so it's not hard to see the city continuing to grow within its own boundaries." I suggest folks read and repeat this 10 times before they go to bed at night.
  10. Gonna drop a chain cupcake place right next door to a locally owned cupcake place. Cool.
  11. Maybe so? If the property taxes will be more than the cost of service, sure. You should figure out if that's the case. Commercial annexation is the winning strategy. Residential, not so much, unless it's multifamily or high-value property directly adjacent.
  12. Oh - no idea if the annexation agreement is online somewhere. I'd email Chris Story with that question and the list of possible annexation properties. I'd be shocked if he didn't get back to you ASAP with info on the eligibility of the properties in question and the status of their annexation if they are eligible. If he won't give you that info, FOIA it. But I doubt it will come to that.
  13. "As for Horne, Who knows?" Yeah. Who knows. Who will ever know. I know this: dude moved into the city, ran for mayor, lost the election, and then lickety-split moved back out of the city. Maybe eventually people will stop relitigating that election and pining for the good ol' days of some alternate reality. It'd be laughable were it not so pointless.
  14. I get a kick out of people who try to characterize the most successful period of economic development in the history of this community as a failure. Todd may or may not have been a "great" mayor. In a weak mayor style of local government, the ability of a mayor to unilaterally move things along or strike deals or affect taxing policy/agreements with other local taxing entities — you know, any of the actual real WORK involved with economic development and not just the mythical symbolic baloney that people love to romanticize about the job — is completely overrated. He's one of seven votes at the end of the day. I have no doubt he would have been great at giving speeches and going to conferences and making certain people feel good when they heard him talk or saw him on TV. But without the trust of the entire community, his ability to get support among his fellow council members to move on an agenda would have been minimal — THAT'S what would make for a "great" mayor in this type of government, and there is absolutely no guarantee he would have been able to deliver in that area. Maybe he would, maybe he wouldn't. Regardless, whether it's Junie White or Todd Horne or Bill Barnet or anyone else, the person sitting in the center chair at council meetings isn't the key to economic development. And if that was the key, why has much more economic development and downtown investment — by a factor of TENS OF MILLIONS of dollars — occurred under Junie White's watch than Bill Barnet's? Like, it ain't even freaking close. I mean, if the mayor is the key to pushing the ball over the goal line and all. So spare me your theoretical, romanticized version of what a mayor is and can do. Or give Junie White credit for the greatest run this town has ever seen. But you can't have it both ways. As for the annexation agreement, a few facts: 1. The agreement with the water system was hammered out by Ed Memmott and Chris Story and, yes, Junie White. Junie was in every single meeting between the city and the water system and he held his ground and was the strongest person in the room during testy negotiations. People can try to rewrite history now all they want, but the fact of the matter is the water system fought tooth and nail every step of the way. Their starting position was NO dividend payment and NO annexation. City ended up with a 20-year agreement that included a new dividend payment, with increases in it pegged to inflation, plus an annexation agreement for the FIRST TIME IN CITY HISTORY. 2. It's a 20-year agreement. So unless the water system wants to try to rip up that agreement and go to court to defend ripping up that agreement, the annexation rights aren't going away regardless of how the composition of the water system board might change. 3. The agreement only covers commercial property within a mile of the city boundary. Residential annexation by and large DOES NOT COME CLOSE to paying for itself. It's a net loser for the city tax base. On the other hand, commercial development, taxed at 6 instead of 4 percent, plus the revenue from business license fees and potentially H-tax and/or A-tax, and with generally much lower cost for service (no trash pickup, no recycling pickup, fewer police calls, generally won't require new fire stations built to keep high fire protection rating like large-scale residential annexation would require), is a net gain for the city bottom line. That includes multi-family, which is considered commercial for taxing purposes, 4. When a commercial customer comes to Spartanburg Water to request a tap or fire sprinkler line as part of a new development or a renovation, if it is within a mile of the city boundary, it is AUTOMATICALLY flagged by the water system and the customer is notified they are subject to city annexation as a condition of getting their tap and the information is AUTOMATICALLY forwarded to the city. So no, no one is asleep at the switch on this stuff. 5. In the case of Drayton Mills, and potentially a handful of other projects that I don't have first-hand knowledge of, an agreement was struck with the developer to delay the annexation to help the developer (by avoiding paying city taxes for a few years). Think of it as another form of incentivizing economic development. You know, the very thing some of you rail about on here that the city isn't doing enough of. Is progress as fast as anyone wants? Nah. Are there opportunities that haven't come to fruition? Plenty. But despite the progress that has been made - and I would characterize it as nothing short of a monumental success story considering the history of this community, its lack of resources, and the difficult position the city was in during and coming out of the Great Recession - this is still a city that has miles to go in terms of building the kind of tools needed to address the generational challenges it faces. Those generational challenges are no more the fault of the current city leadership than the weather is. But they're tackling them bit by bit, day by day. With still VERY little help in terms of real tools from the county, the chamber, or the local school districts. Those relationships have come a long way from where they were 10 years ago, but there still isn't nearly enough skin in the game. Now, carry on with your whining and complaining and half-baked hypothesizing about what the problems are.
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