Crestwood Mayor Roy Robinson has said he would like to end all controversy from the 2002 sale of the former Crestwood Swim Club property near the city’s Government Center. This week, aldermen had a chance to work toward that.
Aldermen were scheduled to vote Tuesday — after the Call went to press — on a $295,000 reimbursement to THF Realty for the developer’s $850,000 purchase of the former Swim Club property from Rosebrook Real Estate.
The $295,000 reimbursement estimate for that parcel came from a recently performed appraisal based on market conditions when the city’s back parking-lot area was sold to THF Realty in December 2002.
That reimbursement would come from funds generated from a 1-cent sales tax at Kohl’s as part of the Crestwood Point Transportation Development District. That TDD sales tax originally was proposed as three-eighths of a cent, but was established as a 1-cent tax in 2003 by the Crestwood Point TDD Board.
The parcel for which THF Realty is seeking reimbursement now is used as the Crestwood Government Center’s back parking lot, which encompasses roughly two-thirds of an acre.
While THF Realty paid for that parcel, it was actually conveyed to the city by the Swim Club.
This reimbursement cannot be accomplished without the Board of Aldermen’s approval to amend the city’s intergovernmental cooperation agreement with the Crestwood Point TDD Board.
That amendment was originally brought to aldermen for consideration on April 10.
Because further discussion was requested about the history of the Crestwood Point development, Ward 3 Alderman Gregg Roby proposed that an aldermanic work session be scheduled. That session took place April 16.
The approval of the proposed amendment to the city’s intergovernmental cooperation agreement with the Crestwood Point TDD Board would also authorize the TDD board to issue separate notes or bonds to finance not only the TDD project, but also the city parking lot’s reconstruction.
The amended intergovernmental cooperation agreement would create a $631,719 project fund for that parking-lot reconstruction, which would benefit from new pavement and additional lighting.
Although his project estimate was $599,000, Director of Public Works Jim Eckrich has said that approval of more than $631,000 would provide an extra cushion and, if any funds are left over, also help pay down the bonds that would be used toward the project.
The amendment to the intergovernmental cooperation agreement would also authorize the issuance of bonds to reimburse THF Realty for up to $2.355 million in project-related costs, which include the construction of Kohl’s.
The ordinance amending the city’s agreement with the TDD board also would amend the city’s agreement with the Crest-wood Point Community Improvement District Board. Under that section of the ordinance, the CID board would issue notes to THF Realty for up to $515,000 of costs in connection with the project.
THF Realty originally requested an $800,000 reimbursement from the Crestwood Point TDD Board. That reimbursement would have included not only the purchase cost for the City Hall back parking lot, but also for the Kohl’s site.
Because THF acquired property necessary for the Kohl’s development and the Swim Club conveyed the property now used as the city’s back parking lot directly to the city, however, the Kohl’s property is not eligible to be reimbursed through the TDD.
Ian Silberman of THF Realty attempted last week to obtain $37,119 more than the appraised reimbursement amount of $295,000 for the back parking-lot area.
But that measure was denied by the Crest-wood Point TDD Board with a 3-1 vote. Robinson, City Administrator Frank Myers and Board of Aldermen President Jerry Miguel of Ward 3 all voted against the consideration for additional reimbursement.
Marian Nunn of THF Realty abstained.
Silberman was the lone “yes” vote and said because the overall purchase of land from the Swim Club was raised from $755,000 to $850,000, THF Realty is entitled to a prorated part of that cost for the back parking-lot parcel. He also produced an affidavit to back up his claims.
“I don’t think anybody’s thrilled with how we got here or why we’re here,” Silberman said. “In an effort to resolve this … we’re using the $295,000 to start that was in the appraisal … And then what we did was come up with a proration using the .653-acre portion that is the city parcel over the entire parcel amount, which ended up at 38-roughly-percent of the total land area and just multiplied that by the additional cost over the $755,000 of the $850,000. So a $95,000 difference in what was paid to the Swim Club. And the affidavit states that the reason for the $95,000 increase was to A, avoid the time and expense of condemnation that nobody wanted to go through with the Swim Club property. And that was the reason for the $95,000 increase. So all we have asked for is an additional increase on that, which is the prorated share of that additional $95,000 for a total reimbursable expense of $332,119.”
But Robinson said he would have to see “real documents” instead of an affidavit to vote in favor of considering a higher reimbursement amount.
“I really, in my heart, I really feel that THF deserves the amount of money that you’ve come up with thus far and probably this 30-some-thousand dollars that you’re asking additional,” Robinson told Silberman. “But in order for me to vote for anything to include or increase that, I’d have to have more than an affidavit. I’d have to see bills or documents that were signed by the city. And to your all’s problem, I think you let the ball fall. THF did. I don’t know whether you do this on all your projects or not. But my observation is either you all led the city officials down the road or they led you down the road. I don’t know which. I’m concerned about how you got to where you got and very little documentation to back it up …
“Without something more substantiating than an affidavit, I personally cannot go anymore with that. It doesn’t fit my criteria, and I was pretty clear with that the last time. I have to have something that’s solid because the people out there in the community say things. And whether they’re watching or not, the fact is they’re very concerned. Some of them don’t even think you ought to get anything. They just don’t understand business in the community.”
The Crestwood Point TDD Board also voted 3-2 to solidify the $295,000 reimbursement by striking the phrase “or such other amount approved by the TDD Board of Directors” in the intergovernmental cooperation agreement. Robinson, Myers and Miguel voted in favor. Silberman and Nunn voted against the revision.
Reflecting on the events that unfolded with the sale of the former Swim Club property, Robinson said while he personally feels “sorry” for THF and will sign off on a $295,000 reimbursement pending the Board of Aldermen’s approval, he cannot go any higher than $295,000.
“I think people have to remember even though our friends in previous administrations allowed the pool people to use that parking lot, at one time they were allowing the city to use their parking spot,” Robinson said. “So what happens is we now own it and they (the Swim Club) get to utilize it for their festivities.”
“I really feel for THF,” Robinson said to Silberman. “I really do, I’m telling you. I think you all got a bad, bum rap on this deal. I hope you learn from your dealings here in Crestwood …
“If I had the documentation to inform me that shows other than this type of stuff, which we’ve known about since the first day we met. The affidavit people say this is what was done. I could go along with real documents, but not things that are coming up later. Not at this point. I hope that clarifies our point of view. This city has nothing to gain and nothing against THF. I just want to make that perfectly clear. We do value your development company and we saw what you’ve done. And I feel sorry for you, basically. But I also have an obligation to the citizens of the community.