Chester Towers Update
Specifically, that it was incorrect to suggest that the HUD/CHA plan would not pay taxes to the city. (I didn't say that but its fair to say I didn't suggest it would pay taxes.)
Rosenberg said under the "mixed finance project," the private developer would be paying "significant" taxes to the county and city because it would be privately owned by the developer.
Surprised, that the developer would take actual ownership of the property, I asked him more about it. Rosenberg corrected himself.
He said he believed the development company would lease the property, maybe for 100 years, but that would still mean taxes would be paid.
I thanked him and told him I'd check it out.
My understanding now is, yes, some taxes would be paid but not nearly as much, over the long term, as by a private developer taking ownership of the property, fixing it out and renting it out at market rates.
I took the opportunity to ask Rosenberg about his claim that the property at 10th and Chestnut streets (offered in a land swap deal) was "contaminated." That he didn't back off of.
Although, he admitted to have done no environmental tests, he said he'd sent an engineer to the site to evaluate it and he concurred. He didn't name the engineer and I didn't ask. Buy given all the asbestos that has to be dealt with in the tearing down of the towers and the cost of doing it, preparing the 10th and Chestnut site for development would probably still be a lot cheaper than the $4 to $5 million it will cost to bring the towers down.
But there was another reason Rosenberg would never seriously consider the land swap: He didn't like the location.
It would have required the moving of the proposed "arts and cultural center" away from Chester's main drag making it less accessible and visible to visitors.
Chester Developer Peter Barrow who is for saving the towers for private development is skeptical about the long-term success of Rosenberg's project, especially the community arts center.
He wants to know who is going to pay the money to keep it up and running. And where all the people they are expecting to come to performances there will park.
To him it sounds more like a sop to community art groups to gain their support of the housing development plan.
(To me too.)
Respected developer and real estate appraiser Ed Paul maintains that Rosenberg's project does not meet the standard of highest and "best use" for the property. It may have once, when it was first proposed more than a decade ago. But not anymore.
(Find today's silly print column on Chester's Twin Towers at Delcotimes.com and the one before it here for a little more background.)