Thanks to Ned Neumann, we have the following additional information about what is happening concerning the property taxpayer-subsidized Riverwalk condo complex in McHenry:
City of McHenry staff and the mayor are recommending to the city council on Monday evening at 7:30 that the council
- approve the 3rd amendment to the redevelopment agreement for the McHenry Riverwalk Center that enables the new owner to operate it as a rental complex and to at some point convert it to condos as originally approved or
- give back as much as $600,000.00 of the original $2.2million of incentive that has yet been given (abatement of future Real estate taxes).
The bottom line is that the bank and the new developer can give back many years from now incentives dollars that they shouldn’t be getting anyway because they were for a better, high value project with much greater tax base.
When approved, the developer, at his sole option, can choose to keep it a rental forever.
With some additional commercial income (it’s mostly vacant now) and low rent residential, he can cash flow the project and make a modest return without ever solving the basic parking problem and getting some high end quality owners in the residences.
Neumann also gave permission for me to publish the letter he recently wrote the Northwest Herald:
The McHenry City Council is about to allow the McHenry Riverwalk Center to become a residential rental complex with no guarantee that it ever will be the owner-occupied condominium development that originally was approved.
The question should not be whether it’s rental or condominium, but rather whether it is quality residential or low-end residential. Either high-end rental or owner-occupied residential would be fine. Either would be high-quality. Without adequate parking, it will be neither.
The city is in the position to force the parking solution by requiring that it eventually be converted back to condominiums.
No bank will lend money on the condos and nobody will buy the condos without adequate parking.
Once the bank solves that problem, it could be quality something, either rental or owner-occupied, with sufficient tax base to justify its center-of-town location.
Without parking, it will not be quality anything.
The city again has the stronger hand and could ensure long-term quality if they don’t give in to the out-of-town bankers and developer.
Variations of this rental-forever proposal have been floated around for many weeks.
The mayor finally has allowed it to be put on the meeting agenda for this Monday.
The assumption is that she has thet votes to get it approved.
Everyone needs to pay attention to who votes which way and who allows this mistake to happen. Our town will live with this decision forever.