As time draws near for the City Council's consideration of the River View plan, here's where I stand. I'd like to lay out a much more reasoned, lengthy explication of my position, but the sand has fallen through the glass.
I expect to vote for the inclusion of the River View project into the T.I.F. district, which is the only vote before the Council now. That district will include the shelved project by Holliday and Goodman.
The ball will then be in the court of the entity referred to as Mainland Properties. That entity will need to convince banks that it can sell unfinished condo space in a soft market at the rate of $257.14 per square foot. Incidentally, the penthouse unit priced at $1.26 million is parsed out at $260 per square foot. For my money, I'm springing the extra three bucks to get whatever constitutes a finished product.
At the depth of the current recession in mid-2009 the price per square foot for houses in New Albany was $78 per square foot. By May 2011 it had rocketed to $82 per square foot. LINK HERE
I believe in the renaissance of downtown New Albany. I believe in order to keep that renaissance rolling we must think big. I believe we, in the seats of decision makers, in this time, must insist that what we do today is prudent and beneficial not only to ourselves and our contemporaries but to our descendants generations beyond the horizon.
Please consider the inventory of available land opening on to our river heritage, our river view, and decide if this is the best opportunity, if this is the best time to extract that parcel of land from the commons of the citizens of New Albany, present and future, and place it into private, for-profit hands.
Please consider the vital role that the citizens of New Albany must play in determining the current and future use of this critical piece of land in the city's heart. And consider that you must step forward to help the City make the right decision.
Many have weighed in, both for and against the project. Think about those in the unbelievable year of 2213--our Quadracentennial-- who will look back at what we have done today. Will it have been right? Will have stood the test of time? Was it a wise move? Was it a quick grab for fleeting gain?
If the citizens of New Albany decide to move forward with this project, in recognition of the momentous decision before us, I believe it is reasonable to ask the developers to hold a design competition to maximize the civic value of this piece of ground. Sure, this is New Albany, Indiana, in the broad view, the epitome of no place special, but it is a place ready to make a community commitment of $12 million to back up a private commitment of $40 plus million in a fervent attempt to save its downtown, its heritage.
If New Albany steps up to the plate, will Mainland Properties follow?