With stance on mall plan, officials show leadership

By Mike Anthony

When we recently published our Most Misguided Quotes of the Year for 2013, we noted we had no shortage of candidates for our annual column chronicling the most misguided, misinformed and misleading statements of the year.

We wrote that space considerations limited us to just a few quotes from last year. Well, here are a couple more classics: “Remove the Pall Over the Mall” and “Stop the Stall.”

Those gems were on signs waved by people participating in rallies urging the Crestwood Board of Aldermen to reconcile its differences and unite its efforts toward redevelopment of Crestwood Court, which is owned by Centrum Partners LLC and Angelo, Gordon & Co. Organizers of the rallies — Metropolitan Congregations United, plus some city residents and nonresidents — apparently believe Crestwood officials should have proceeded with Centrum’s proposal to redevelop the mall into an open-air shopping and entertainment venue.

Yeah, that would be a good idea.

Let’s enter into an agreement with a developer who has presented more of a concept than an actual proposal.

Let’s enter into an agreement with a developer who came to the city with his hand out, requesting economic assistance totaling roughly $34 million to redevelop the mall and saying he couldn’t obtain any commitments from businesses until he had the economic assistance in hand. As we’ve noted before, that’s not how it works.

Typically, a developer comes with letters of intent from businesses and evidence of financing for the project.

Let’s enter into an agreement with a developer who claimed no other company was interested in redeveloping the mall site, only to have that claim disputed in public.

And the list goes on. Those who urged aldermen to proceed with Centrum’s concept demonstrated a profound ignorance of how the redevelopment process works.

Furthermore, many of these Centrum proponents have some sort of nostalgic view of returning the mall to its Crestwood Plaza glory days.

Sorry folks, times have changed and the mall will never be the economic engine that it once was for the city.

Centrum’s proponents have been attacking the city’s leadership for months in what can only be construed as a thinly veiled political campaign.

As for Mayor Jeff Schlink and the Board of Aldermen, we applaud their leadership for not caving to the demands of an ill-informed minority of residents — and nonresidents.