Why did this story get written?

By:  Diane Benjamin

WGLT did a story yesterday pertaining to the still empty space at 1 Uptown Circle.  Take a minute and read it:  https://www.wglt.org/emails-show-developers-struggle-find-first-floor-tenant-uptown-building

Since the Town of Normal and WGLT are best buds, there has to be a reason for this story.  I’ve noted many times Tartan Realty had the opportunity to rent the first floor but Normal vetoed it because it wasn’t the “right fit”.   Normal wants low wage jobs that generate food/beverage and liquor taxes.  It has to be high end so the ISU kids won’t be partying on the Circle.

I’ve also mentioned the parking problem.  Why would people want to eat there if they have to park in the garage and then walk in heat, cold, rain, or snow?  I laughed at the valet option.  People aren’t allowed to drop off train or bus riders at the door, but a high-end restaurant across the street might be able to valet park?

In the story above WGLT claims the Town invested $2.1 million in One Uptown Circle and another $5.1 million in the Hyatt.

In 2016 WGLT did a different story:    https://www.wglt.org/post/estimating-taxpayer-support-uptown-construction-project#stream/0

That story included the present value of Normal renting an entire floor just to get the building built – $4.58 million.  It also claims total taxpayer investment of $8.4 million in just 1 Uptown Circle.  No, the numbers don’t chive.

In 2016 the Pantagraph estimated over 15 years the lease would cost $5.9 million.  That “around 2.8 million” in the WGLT article wasn’t a Town investment.  It was a loan of $2.75 million that was supposed to be paid back with:  tax increment financing, sales tax, food and beverage tax and hotel/motel tax money.

See the Pantagraph story:  https://www.pantagraph.com/news/local/normal-eyes-design-contract-for-office-space/article_9d3ad5b1-f04d-5709-a834-2d10fe6db9eb.html

I wonder how much of that loan has been paid back?  The empty first floor isn’t generating any additional taxes.

Don’t forget the luxury apartment taxpayers help fund with that loan.  Definitely not affordable housing.

So why did WGLT do the story?

  • They finally noticed the space has been empty for two years?
  • Somebody leaked emails to them?
  • The Town wants citizens to think they are trying to fill a space they don’t own?
  • To paint Tartan Realty as the good guys for some upcoming project?

I’m thinking there is more to this story!

Stay tuned.

 

10 thoughts on “Why did this story get written?

  1. Koos and his central planners want a certain type of occupant for 1 Uptown Circle and are willing to make the taxpayers (and their money) wait on the sidelines until this mythical unicorn appears. They truly believe that we would be better off if they selected who occupies the space rather than allowing the marketplace, based on demand and private sector money and risk. Uptown is a utopian canvas for Koos and his elitist followers who believe deep down they know what’s best for all of you. WGLT and other media outlets are brought on to help sell this vision. Unfortunately for them, most people have caught on to the mirage and Hollywood set that is Uptown. Koos is fighting for his legacy, which in the end won’t look pretty. While my heart aches for the rank-and-file employees, I can’t help but direct my anger at the Uptown “visionaries” that thought it was a great idea to put all their eggs in the restaurant and hospitality industry basket.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. WHY in the name of GOD making “little green apples” would ANY GOOD business WANT to have a location in uptown, and with an elevated overhead? This is NOT PARK avenue or some OTHER such street in NYC where you CAN get $100 or better a square foot. But I don’t see TIFFANYS or GUCCI busting the doors down!
    uptown will be LUCKY if they can get a McDonalds in this space. Bad location, no parking, and too much traffic. and a “Green Acres” town. AIN’T HAPPENING!
    Maybe it’s a good thing that Tartan is FINALLY telling uptown that THEY are “unrealistic” Which they have been from the start!! IF it’s such a GREAT spot, HOW ABOUT A CERTAIN BICYCLE SHOP moving in there and put YOUR money where YOUR mouth is!!! Get ON or get OFF!!
    I look FORWARD to YOUR reply mr koos!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I too look forward to Koos response. Great location in relation to Illinois State for a bike shop. He can’t lose. If nothing else a branch there couldn’t lose. (tee-hee)

      Like

      1. And since it presumably has utilities set up for a restaurant, he could make it a ‘bike shop cafe’ – Have a latte and a scone while you wait to have your derailleurs adjusted!

        Like

  3. A loan paid back with tax receipts? That is not repaying a loan. That is the same effect as giving away taxpayer money. Who pays taxes…TAXPAYERS!!!

    Can’t believe you fell for the logic tartan or any business pay back a loan with taxes collected. I will just believe you put that in there for sarcasm. 🙂

    I completely agree to expect an upcoming taxpayer giveaway for 1 upitty town. WGLT does not report on Normal without permission. GLT is a trustworthy as the Chinese media.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. No doubt a PR piece. The reporter’s wife works at the town. He would not risk her job by painting Normal in a bad way.

    I trust a wet fart won’t leave a mark more than I trust what GLT puts out.

    Liked by 1 person

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