Toledo Council to weigh $4.2M Tetra Tech deal

A proposed $4.2 million deal to sell Toledo-owned property along Swan Creek downtown for an eventual river walk development could face tough scrutiny today from some councilmen who think the city might shoulder too much risk.

The agreement with Tetra Tech Inc., of Pasadena, Calif. - which last week announced plans to buy 27 parcels of city-owned property for the project - requires only a $5,000 "deposit" and lets the company pull out of the deal for up to one year.

Council could vote May 6 on the purchase agreement and legislation to keep the market operating with the help of city funding.

"I believe that the $5,000 earnest money is insufficient," Councilman Lindsay Webb said. "I would like to see $300,000, which would cover the cost of the utilities."

Councilmen D. Michael Collins, Mike Craig, Betty Shultz, and Phillip Copeland indicated similar concern.

No votes yet

"Tetra Tech plans to transform the area along Swan Creek into a $300 million river walk development, with a pedestrian-friendly walkway, office space, homes, shops, and a waterfront promenade."

There's no way that's going to happen. Toledo is in economic free-fall and no one with that kind of money is going to actually make such an investment in that sort of environment. Detroit's core had to essentially crater before the rebuild happened, and it was only a yuppie affair to begin with in an environment of criminally easy commercial credit that allowed the construction. We're entering an extended period of credit crunch, so no such loans will be forthcoming.

More councilmen have to admit that this deal is purely covering for the corporate welfare of the ESM. At any rate, at least the rest of it is impossible. There's no way Toledo could play the corporate-welfare game with a $300M plan. No rating agency would give a pass on the bonds for that sort of thing. So the actual riverwalk plan is a zombie.

(If it was a $30M plan, I'd be worried, since Toledo could still shoulder the bonds for such a piece of foolishness. But $300M? Impossible. That's pure pie-in-the-sky.)

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