Thursday, December 06, 2007

Time To Get Off The Pot

Sorry...that may be an overly-vulgar title for a post, but this article, reporting that Eagle Realty Group (a division of Western & Southern) is seeking yet another extension of time to submit a plan for Fifth and Race, is truly frustrating.

I was excited when, earlier this year, Eagle Realty proposed the construction of a large condo complex on the site. (For those who don't know, the parcel we're discussing is the parking lot adjacent to the Millenium Hotel.) But once again, Eagle Realty has failed to deliver a concrete plan to accomplish anything other than more empty promises.

Don't get me wrong--cutting through that parking lot when walking from my home to my office saves me about half a block of shoe-wear. But Eagle Realty has had the development rights since 1998 (it's been a parking lot since 1999; before that, it was an office building).

Maybe Eagle Realty isn't the right company for the job. Maybe the City needs to deny an extension and open up some sort of bidding/proposal process to determine which company is best-suited to do something with the space. But it's too valuable a location to allow Eagle Realty to hold onto the rights in perpetuity in the absence of any real sign of progress. And if there is progress, then it ought to be shared publicly: for instance, is there any financing in place for the putative condo building? How about feasibility studies? Construction timetables?

When it takes eight years to put together a plan to develop one block of space, it becomes clear why the Banks is taking so long.

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