In a letter to the editor, John A. Capstick writes: How many Lake Forest residents understand what is being proposed by the city to develop the land adjacent to Western and Laurel Avenue?
In the recent past, several Lake Forest developments have been started but, for various reasons, usually related to the economy, the developers have gone bankrupt.
To my knowledge, apart from the loss to the city of potential property taxes, none of these projects have actually lost the city any “hard cash” until this new Western/Laurel plan.
In this plan, in order to develop the 10-acre site that has been mulled over and rejected by several developers, the city plans to take on more than $30 million of debt.
This sum is required to finance:
a. Clean up of site
d. Extra school capacity
e. Debt finance
It will be repaid over a period of 23 years by the taxes hopefully generated by the 175 rental or sale properties if they are ever built, let or sold.
The city will not disclose:
a. What the developer is paying for the site
b. What the 175 units will rent or sell for
c. The demographics of potential buyers or renters
d. The time scale for completion
What if, as previously, the developer goes bankrupt in the middle of the project? On a risk/reward analysis, the risks to the city clearly outweigh the rewards. If you share my concern, please express your thoughts to Robert R. Kiely, Jr., the Chief Administrative Officer of the City.
John A. Capstick