Friday, July 25, 2008

Least Suprisng News Ever.

A couple weeks ago I FJMed Fitzy's latest column about downtown reviatlization. If you remember, he called for more housing downtown. Saying we should give incentives to builders to build housing downtown.

Well, the most recent developer to build any sort of housing downtown got foreclosed on. That's right, even with the sweetheart deal the city gave them, including selling them the plot of land for a fucking dollar, the Sheraton may not be the Sheraton for much longer. On top of that, they haven't sold a single condo.

How could such a thing happen? What caused the biggest forclosure in all of Stockton? (Which is no small feat) Allegedly it's not the fact that noone can afford to, or would want to stay there. It's because they can't afford to pay off their construction debts.

Not having enough money? That couldn't possibly have anything to do with the fact that the hotel is a varitable ghost town. People staying there doesn't mean more money to pay off debts or anything. So where did the discrepency come from?

Regent (the development company) contends that the bank they got a contruction loan from, First Bank, withheld the final $6 million of a $40 million loan. That $6 million would have paid off roughly two-thirds of their $8.9 million debt. Umm, that's still a significant difference there guys. Not to mention $8.9 mil is the "at least" estimate. They also blame the failing housing market. Which is a fine claim, except for the fact that the housing market was failing when they started this whole debacle.

It's pretty obvious the reason the Sheraton failed. It's a question I asked when I first heard about the plans for the hotel. Who the hell would willing spend the night downtown? The city bought into that whole "Event City" schtick that has since been cast aside. (Great idea to cast aside a couple weeks before the biggest event Stockton's ever had.)

Clearly the hotel was going to be dependent on the tourism from the various events our event city held. With the consultant company (and by extension, the city) ditching events in favor of pink police cars and a fenceless downtown, they essentially guaranteed the Sheraton's failure. Without events to fill up hotel rooms and generate revenue all we're really stuck with is an expensive, nice looking building that probably not even the visiting minor league teams can afford to stay at. Thanks Steve Pinkerton, great visionary planning.

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