Something has gone wrong when, to get a tenant to move into an empty space in your prime-location building, you need a $4 million subsidy.
And when I say “prime location,” I’m not engaging in Trumpian over-statement. The downtown Denver, Colorado, property location sees over 35,000 pedestrians per day . . . and that’s with the primo slot empty.
But to get that slot filled, the owners have negotiated with the city government to nab a $2 million “incentive” to fix the place up for Target, which is thinking of leasing the location to put up a smaller-than-usual “flexible-format” store. Oh, and another $2 million for “operational” costs, which seems to be some kind of a loan to be paid back from taxes to be collected — and shared by the city for 20 years with the owners.
In other words, it’s the darnedest business deal you’ll ever see (and never get): up-front money not from a bank or investors, but from Denver’s city government “BIF” — Business Investment Fund — which is obviously part of a convoluted scheme fed by taxes and devised by . . . people I wouldn’t trust with my money.
Structuring deals like this is how modern cronies — er, cities — operate, I know. Am I alone in judging it corrupt on the surface and corrupting in the details?
If prime commercial property has gone unused for about a decade — as this three-storied mall space has — I’d think that maybe the owners have set the rents too high or the city has been a bit too greedy with taxes.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.