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Letter to the Editor

BY DI READERS | JULY 03, 2012 6:30 AM

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Due diligence during building boom

It's surprising that in an ongoing recession caused by over-speculation on Wall Street and a housing bust, the city of Iowa City doesn't require a financial statement of assets for anyone who applies for a TIF loan. Banks do.

Marc Moen is the biggest landlord in the City Center, with several apartment buildings. We have experienced a boom in building apartments since interest rates have been at historic laws, but does the City Council think we are invulnerable to a building finance bust? How would that affect the city's $2.5 million investment in the new 14-story building Moen wants to erect on the Pedestrian Mall?

At the federal level, financial regulations weren't tight enough to prevent JP Morgan from losing billions in investors' money this year. Like Coralville, Iowa City needs to practice due diligence to preserve its bond rating.

Moen has proposed "work force" condos for his new high rise, but taxpayers haven't been told what they will sell for.

His Plaza Towers' one-bedroom condos sell for $389,000. Even at $200,000 to $300,000, condos at 114 S. Dubuque St. will not be "work force" or entry-level housing by any means.

Is the city so dazzled by the prospect of another glass tower downtown that it will overlook this discrepancy? If our tax money is to help pay for this, we taxpayers should be given a chance to decide. We should be allowed to vote on the TIF loan to Moen.

Phil Beck
Iowa City resident


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