Hopkins wants City to Sale Trillium
August 6, 2006
Today’s viewpoint in the PNJ– makes it clear that there are those in the Stop Our City camp that want to see the Trillium land sold to highest bidder. Such a sale would give the City and the citizens no control over the propery.
But there are other misstatements made by Mr. Hopkins:
“The city granted CMPA a 60-year, one-dollar-per-year lease. The city will receive very little land rent and property tax income from private developments on the property.” RO: This is one of the most consistent lies by SOC. All private developments must sublease the land for fair market value. The Pensacola City Council will approve all leases. All sublease rents go to the City. All buildings built by private development will pay property taxes. Mr. Hopkins isn’t stating the real facts here.
“The city will also provide the corporation with $40 million up front.” RO: City approves all construction contracts. Money is released to a non-profit corporation – Community Maritime Park Associates – as the bills are presented to the City for approval. CMPA’s sole purpose is to build and manage the park. Any excess funds (profits) from operations each year will be donated to local charities or go to an escrow account to maintain and repair the park.
“The city will borrow the $40 million and repay the debt over 30 years. Interest and principal repayments will total about $80 million.” RO: Mr. Hopkins was a banker. He made his fortune making loans and collecting interest. The loans helped build this city. Now loans are bad????
“The city’s commitment probably will exceed $100 million when the property value is included. This is a developer’s dream: The city puts up the property and $40 million and turns the project over to the developers.” RO: The City maintains ownership. Neither John Cavanaugh or Quint Studer will be on the board of the CMPA. The City will appoint three of its own members and has considerable approval power of its decisions. Come on, Mr. Hopkins, tell the whole truth.
In short, Mr. Hopkins wants to subdivide the Trillium property – keep part as a public park (12 acres) – but have no mechanism to maintain it – which means 100% of those costs will born by the citizens.
The other 18 acres will be sold off – Although certain deed restrictions can be placed on the land, the City loses all control. We could end up with another gated community like Port Royal which offers little economic development to downtown. Mr. Hopkins has no facts to support his position the land would go from being worth $4 million to $30 million.
SOC and Luke McCoy say there is conspiracy to take over the Trillium land and make developers rich. They may be right – but it’s not Quint Studer and CMPA that they should be worried about. They need to look at who is in their own camp.