According to this morning’s Herald, the activity on the old Rosemurgy building is a bit of a mystery. I certainly hope that some freelance demolition guys didn’t get their orders mixed up. Apparently someone bought that property, but so far, no plans have been announced. Jim Rosenberg was quoted in the paper as saying it wasn’t a City operation, so apparently something private will be built there. Let us hope that it will be in some way residential and not more retail or office space.
This is the kind of post that gets some people thinking I am anti-development, which is not actually the case. I am for smart development. And at the moment the logic of things around here escapes me.
Walking around downtown shows quite of bit of empty retail space. From the mall the Landmark to Washington Square, it is not hard to find a place to sell something to folks. And it is not just downtown. Rib Mountain Drive is still being developed, with a new strip mall there. Work has already begun over on Stewart Avenue on retail and office space. And over in Weston, there are not one, but three new strip malls, two finished and one under construction. I guess folks think this is Iowa: “if you build it they will come.”
Now in general, when private folks spend their money on things, I don’t care very much one way or the other. In the case of this kind of development, I care a bit because it reflects on our area (both good and bad…new development is often desirable, but can be tacky and not very “touristy”). Also, it probably can’t be helped that new development takes a few (or a lot of!) tax dollars for infrastructure construction. But at this point I am not complaining one bit. But I am completely mystified.
People who develop real estate are generally some pretty sharp cookies when it comes to dollars and sense. After all it takes pretty big bucks to play the game. And probably they know something I don’t. But I have to wonder how they plan to make money from half empty malls and office buildings. It seems to me there must be some kind of loophole in some tax law somewhere that has bulldozers running around at the drop of a hat even though the existing storefronts are not full. A lalapalooza loophole, if the number of buildings is any indication.
Perhaps Dr. Rent or someone a lot smarter than me can fill us on why building is booming when our population here has grown only a tiny bit. But until then, it is a mystery to me.