City councilman and 2009 mayoral candidate Patrick Dowd dashed off a letter to Mayor Luke Ravenstahl concerning the aforementioned Buncher Company development plan -- in so doing, providing a glimpse of the complex proposal beyond, "We're going to do this and it's going to be exciting!"
For starters, Dowd is "holding" back mayoral legislation which would grant Buncher $50 million in tax increment financing (TIF) until more information is forthcoming -- and perhaps until more people realize we are considering a $50 million TIF.
Demanding that the city ought first conduct thorough public airings of site plans, adjacent development plans, and infrastructure plans -- as well as airing his own concerns over where best to relocate displaced businesses -- Dowd offers this graph as mere context:
According to agreements you have negotiated, Buncher would purchase the historic Produce Terminal Building for approximately $1.2 million. The URA would purchase Buncher's 16-acre distribution center site located between 43rd and 48th Street for approximately $8 million -- approximately $500,000 per acre of land. Buncher would pay approximately $1 million for 16 acres of land on the old Tippins site -- only approximately $70,000 per acre. (Dowd Letter)
The specter of that old Ravenstahl administration trope, the "Sweetheart Deal," is hard not to notice.
Patrick Dowd is a member of the majority block of Council that works with Mayor Ravenstahl as a matter of routine, and has been since the previous council session when these were in the minority. However he took a leadership role in opposing the Mayor's parking privatization deal, and is popularly believed to be supportive of Michael Lamb's mayoral aspirations. He has occasionally singled out the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, of which he is a board member, for sharp criticism. Last week warned us somewhat ominously:
The embattled water authority apparently needs interim executive management services.
*-MOAR: at the P-G:
"The URA is more than happy to come to the table and explain or answer any questions Councilman Dowd may have," [mayoral spokes Doven] said. "It's a shame that isn't going to happen."
Sounds legit... but on the flip side, this way we all arrive well-prepared for the discussion when it does happen.