Comment 39018

By John Neary (registered) | Posted March 23, 2010 at 09:31:06

Firstly though, i doubt that Siemens developed their plan in hopes of getting a tax break

I agree. But we still should not give them one in return for closing a plant and putting 550 people out of work.

Imposing a tax penalty is interesting but seems draconian. By the time you get this through, it will be just in time for the made in America Depression 2 (2012?). Owners, unless extremely well funded will likely go bust anyway and who will want to buy at such a time, especially when faced with your penalty? That means more properties not paying any tax at all so the City becomes the repossessor of the last resort. Not very appetizing.

Investing is not supposed to be risk-free. No one is sticking a gun to the heads of these guys and forcing them to buy property. And it is generally the case in this world that doing nothing with your assets does not generate any return.

These buildings are not for sale on the cheap. Battaglia et al wanted $7.5 million from Stinson for the Connaught. The renovated Lister is costing the city almost $30 million -- it's hard to know how that breaks down, but it must value the building at several million dollars at least.

This issue isn't about a grudge, at least not primarily. It should not be cheap to hold onto empty property. And if the owners of downtown property can't figure out how to make money with their assets, our tax system should encourage them to sell. They may have to realize a loss. Life is hard.

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