By Ryan McGreal
Published June 25, 2008
Joe Mancinelli, Vice President of Labourers International Union of North America, was on the Bill Kelly radio program this morning on 900 CHML.
He was talking about the committee of the whole (COW) decision to accept LIUNA's offer to sell the Lister Building at the corner of James St. N. and King William St. as long as LIUNA also posts a $1 million condition bond to guarantee that they will follow through with a promised condo/seniors centre development on the same block.
Mancinelli accused Council of "throwing obstacles at LIUNA for the last several years" and added, "it seems that we can never satisfy them." He said this is "making it impossible for us to go forward."
He objected to the condition bond, saying that the city is penalizing LIUNA for "creating development" since LIUNA is not sure how big the second phase is going to end up and is afraid that they will lose the million dollars if phase 2 is not big enough for the city.
Basically, we're restoring an entire block, and now they want an extra million dollars guarantee that we're going to go ahead with Phase 2. This is becoming ridiculous.
Mancinelli went on, saying that many Councillors "quite frankly don't understand business. They don't understand real estate. They don't understand business models."
The interview closed with Kelly asking Mancinelli whether LIUNA has a Plan B if council refuses to back down on the condition bond. Mancinelli said LIUNA would "have to move forward and partner up with someone and try to do something on that site."
The end of Mancinelli's response is worth quoting extensively:
But, you know, maybe in retrospect, we should have done that [redeveloped the Lister without the city's help] in the first place because, you know, we've developed and built over $160 million dollars worth of construction in this community.
Nursing homes on the mountain, one downtown, LIUNA station, our offices, out headquarters and hundreds and hundreds of residential units that LIUNA Hamilton Association, our pension plan is invested in strip malls and a number of others in the city and we've done all of that without the City's help.
Maybe we should have stayed away from the City because it seems like every time we do business, or try to do business with them, they throw obstacles in our way.
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