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Archive for Friday, January 18, 2013

Fritzel breaks silence on proposed Rock Chalk Park deal, says he won’t profit from the KU sports complex

January 18, 2013, 6:20 p.m. Updated January 18, 2013, 7:48 p.m.

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Lawrence developer Thomas Fritzel broke his silence Friday about his role in the proposed $50 million Rock Chalk Park sports complex development in northwest Lawrence, promising that his company won’t profit from the project he’s building with Kansas University.

“We’re doing it because we love the community,” Fritzel said in an interview. “We’re not doing it because we’re getting good publicity. You can cross that off as a reason.”

For the first time, the developer discussed in detail the complex financing and ownership of the project, which is a partnership between Fritzel, the Kansas University Endowment Association and Kansas Athletics, the university’s athletics department. Among other things, he said he will be paid $1.3 million per year in lease payments by the university over the next 30 years for use of the facility. The university would take ownership of the facility after 50 years.

“We’re a financing mechanism for the University of Kansas, just cut and dry,” Fritzel said of his role.

The Rock Chalk Park complex — which would include a track and field stadium, soccer field and softball stadium —would be adjacent to a proposed $25 million, city-owned recreation center and youth fieldhouse. The project is proposed for vacant ground northeast of the Sixth Street and South Lawrence Trafficway interchange.

On Friday afternoon, Fritzel said he will produce signed documents that show the not-for-profit Kansas Athletics Corp. will hold all of the rights to operate and generate revenue from the facilities.

“It will be run just like Allen Fieldhouse, 100 percent like Allen Fieldhouse,” Fritzel said. “The important thing is Kansas Athletics controls everything.”

Fritzel’s comments came as political pressure on the project intensified after City Hall officials announced that the development likely will request a 10-year property tax abatement in order to move forward.

City Manager David Corliss said it appears a property tax abatement will be a requested part of the package because the proposed public-private partnership between Kansas University and Fritzel likely won’t meet the state’s standard for an automatic property tax exemption that is given to state-owned facilities, such as Allen Fieldhouse or Memorial Stadium.

The reason the project is not likely to qualify for the exemption is because a private, for-profit entity controlled by Fritzel — Bliss Sports — will own the facilities and lease them back to KU. The private ownership, which voids any property tax exemption, raised questions about whether Fritzel could use the private entity to profit from the sports complex.

In the interview Friday afternoon, Fritzel also provided other details about agreements that are being negotiated among Bliss Sports, Kansas University Endowment and KU Athletics. They include:

• Kansas Athletics will pay Fritzel’s Bliss Sports $1.3 million each year for 30 years as part of a lease that will give KU full use of the track and field stadium, the soccer field, softball stadium and other amenities in the park. The 30-year agreement will produce $39 million in payments to Bliss. KU officials have estimated the value of the proposed facilities to be about $50 million.

• The payments to Bliss Sports will last for 30 years, but Bliss Sports will own the facilities for 50 years. At that point, ownership of the facilities will transfer to either Kansas University Endowment Association or KU Athletics. The property the facilities will sit on will be owned by KU Endowment. The Endowment Association has created a separated limited liability company — called RCP LLC — to own the property on its behalf.

• Fritzel confirmed that if any non-KU events are held at the facility, Kansas Athletics — not Bliss Sports — will collect any facility rental fees or other type of charges associated with using the property. When asked if the $1.3 million per year lease payments were the only revenue that Bliss Sports would receive from the project, Fritzel said: “Yeah, if you want to call that revenue, sure.”

• Fritzel said he and his wife, Dru, are the only owners of Bliss Sports. Questions have arisen why Fritzel is providing the financing through a for-profit company as opposed to a not-for-profit foundation that he previously had established. He said the only reason is because tax and financial professionals he had hired had advised him to do it this way.

“I have been told not do it that way (a foundation) by the people who I pay to make good decisions,” Fritzel said.

Fritzel — who has multiple business interests in Lawrence, including The Eldridge Hotel and The Oread hotel — said he hopes the sports complex will attract non-KU events to the community. “If you want the city to continue to prosper, then we had better do things to make people want to come to our community to enjoy the University of Kansas, the city of Lawrence and our amenities here because we don’t have a lot to offer at this point,” Fritzel said “We can do so much more.”

Local leaders have mentioned using the new sports complex as the venue for possible bids for the Junior Olympics, the U.S. Special Olympics, the Kansas High School Track and Field Championships and other events. Fritzel said Bliss Sports’ ownership of the property won’t allow him to directly profit from any such events.

City commissioners acknowledged Friday that they had not previously seen many of the details about the proposed agreements between Bliss Sports and the KU entities. But they said they were pleased with what they had learned.

City Commissioner Mike Dever said he now has a better understanding of how the sports complex would be run and that it would be done so in a way that the public could have confidence in.

Mayor Bob Schumm said Friday’s details were consistent with what he had heard of the relationship between Bliss and KU. He said he believes Fritzel’s offer to finance the project is particularly attractive to KU Athletics because it is trying to prepare for major spending projects at Memorial Stadium and Allen Fieldhouse.

“They are trying to structure this in a way so that is an affordable amount of money each year so that they can get to some other projects,” Schumm said. “Memorial Stadium and the fieldhouse will take a great deal of money, I believe.”

Fritzel said he would provide copies of the signed agreements between Bliss and the KU entities to the Journal-World and the City Commission so that they can be viewed by the public.

“I want to be open,” Fritzel said. “There is nothing to hide here.”

When those agreements will be completed, however, isn’t certain. But Fritzel said his timeline is “real quick.”

City commissioners in mid-February are scheduled to make a final decision on a separate but related project: the $25 million recreation center and youth fieldhouse.

That project would be on about 25 acres of ground that is adjacent to the KU facilities and that KU Endowment will provide to the city. As part of the land transfer deal, KU Endowment is insisting that it build the recreation facility to the city’s specifications. The city then will make a one-time payment not to exceed $25 million to KU Endowment, giving the city outright ownership of the land and the recreation center.

Fritzel — who also is an executive with Lawrence-based Gene Fritzel Construction Co. — is involved in that deal because he has provided the assurances to KU Endowment that he can deliver the project for $25 million or less.

The project is scheduled to go through a bid process, but it will deviate from the city’s standard open bidding procedures. At least two other companies — in addition to a Fritzel entity — will be invited by KU Endowment to bid on the rec center project. But Fritzel will have a chance to match their bids at the end of the process.

City officials have not yet committed to the recreation center or the bidding process, but they will be asked to do so once formal agreements between KU Endowment and the city are crafted. Those agreements are expected to be done by mid-February.

— City reporter Chad Lawhorn can be reached at 832-6362. Follow him at Twitter.com/clawhorn_ljw

Comments

Eugehne Normandin 1 year, 11 months ago

I am surprised KU can not afford to build a new facility after saving billions of dollars with the changing for excellence scam

KiferGhost 1 year, 11 months ago

Golly, I feel a whole lot better that he says it is just because he loves Lawrence, shoot let's get moving with it because just like the Lance Armstrong interview everything is all better now that he has spoken.

Commissioners, not that it matters because you'll approve it anyway but for everyone else remember to check the footnotes so we don't get another Fritzel surprise like the cell towers and the brand new Varsity House. Don't want any of this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6_1Pw1xm9U

Currahee 1 year, 11 months ago

If you're doing it for the community you wouldn't need the city pouring money into it. If you were doing this for the good of the community why don't you use your own money to pay for a portion of it?

Topple 1 year, 11 months ago

I can't say whether he'll truly make no profit or not, but working just to cover your expenses is contributing quite a lot, especially considering the amount of time/resources he'll have wrapped up in something that will generate zero profit.

I suspect everyone would be crucifying him regardless of what he says.

Currahee 1 year, 11 months ago

You're making it sound like he's doing charity work. We just gave him a combined $50 something million to build his facility. What part of subsidy do you not understand? How long do you suspect all the part time people he is going to hire it will take to pay pack costs associated with the construction?

Katara 1 year, 11 months ago

"Lawrence developer Thomas Fritzel broke his silence Friday about his role in the proposed $50 million Rock Chalk Park development in northwest Lawrence, promising that his company won’t profit from the Kansas University sports complex. "

ComeOnMannnnnnn 1 year, 11 months ago

sounds good Thomas. I appreciate the changes you have made and continue to make.

Lenette Hamm 1 year, 11 months ago

"Kansas Athletics will pay Fritzel’s Bliss Sports $1.3 million each year for 30 years as part of a lease that will give KU full use of the track and field stadium, the soccer field, softball stadium and other amenities in the park. The 30-year agreement will produce $39 million in payments to Bliss. KU officials have estimated the value of the proposed facilities to be about $50 million. " And Fritzel won't profit? BL ST!!!

msezdsit 1 year, 11 months ago

You have to understand that when the fritzells say they won't profit, it is because they define profit much differently than the people they are trying to fool. They won't profit as much as their usual outrageous profit margins so they don't count as profit in their eyes.

brianjay1 1 year, 11 months ago

He is also carrying the note for the construction of the facilities... This means him money is tied up for all of the years while repayment is occuring... YES money is cheap now but not free. Then again I am sure you are an expert in financing and know far more than those involved.

irvan moore 1 year, 11 months ago

will the williams fund have any involvement in any part of this, just wondering since you say it will be run just like allen fieldhouse

password 1 year, 11 months ago

isn't the williams fund there for scholarships?

msezdsit 1 year, 11 months ago

“We’re doing it because we love the community,” Oh please. do you expect anyone to believe this patronization. You guys don't do anything that won't benefit you financially. Some just more than others. I really have not been involved in the sports complex but I can assure you that your assertion is pure bs.

Jonathan Fox 1 year, 11 months ago

For crying out loud. If nothing else, Fritzel is right about one thing. “If you want the city to continue to prosper, then we had better do things to make people want to come to our community to enjoy the University of Kansas, the city of Lawrence and our amenities here because we don’t have a lot to offer at this point,” Fritzel said “We can do so much more.”

msezdsit 1 year, 11 months ago

even if it results in an unintended undesired profit to frisle. you bet.

Currahee 1 year, 11 months ago

This city will never prosper because of how growth is oriented here. Lawrence's current growth is driven by residents, not attracting businesses or industrial facilities. This is evidenced by what LJWorld reports, more and more apartments. This athletics "complex" is exactly geared towards this kind of growth. You never hear about businesses wanting to come to Lawrence. If you took at the top employers in Lawrence, it is KU, Lawrence Public Schools, Vangent, City of Lawrence, and LMH. Except for Vangent, these are all governmental entities (Yes I'm counting LMH because they receive a lot of government funding to operate, might as well be classified as government). I'm not trying to say we need to cut government, but we should refocus our growth priority to be medium and big businesses that can attract outside dollars to our community instead of trying to get people who work in Shawnee and Johnson counties to move here. Lawrence will never be able to match the amenities that Topeka and the KC Metro area have to offer, so why try to compete with something that you won't be able to do? Instead of wasting all that money let's try something useful for a change.

Corpusrex 1 year, 11 months ago

Why, to take advantage of the current city commision of course. Wouldn't want to wait and have this all become a campaign issue and run the risk of losing a majority on the City Commission after the April elections.

KiferGhost 1 year, 11 months ago

fredthemechanic1213 1 hour, 29 minutes ago For crying out loud. If nothing else, Fritzel is right about one thing. “If you want the city to continue to prosper, then we had better do things to make people want to come to our community to enjoy the University of Kansas, the city of Lawrence and our amenities here because we don’t have a lot to offer at this point,” Fritzel said “We can do so much more.”

That is really true but unfortunately all we can do is rehash the same old ideas like developing and sports which today go hand in hand because of a lack of imagination. While sports might play a role I'd say Lawrence has tapped it out and time to look at cities that have balance and see what they do.

minimadoff 1 year, 11 months ago

If Thomas Fritzel is now so open and transparent he should tells us a couple things about how he runs his businesses. What's he doing in Junction City about the three years of unpaid and delinquent real estate taxes he owes on the lots at Olivia Farms under Fort Development LLC. Who are his partners in Fort Development.

Who's moving into the Varsity House apartments and how many code violations did the city ignore when they accepted the $50,000 payoff.

After he tells the newspaper about these issues he could start telling the truth about Rock Chalk Park.

Notice this article does not mention the recreation center,

Curtis Lange 1 year, 11 months ago

You mean the rec center it mentions at the end?

edit: And the rec center the article mentions in the 5th paragraph?

JackMcKee 1 year, 11 months ago

Wow, there are a lot of people posting here that are terrified that Lawrence might actually grow and change for the better. I've criticized Frtizel plenty of times. This is one instance where the best interests of KU and Lawrence are one in the same. Everyone will benefit in the long run from this project.

jafs 1 year, 11 months ago

Nobody's terrified of growth and change that are net positives.

Many, including myself, aren't at all convinced that's usually the case, and specifically won't be the case with this project.

brianjay1 1 year, 11 months ago

Because you don't like it? Maybe it doesn't fit your needs so it isn't right?

jafs 1 year, 11 months ago

No.

Because I see no real evidence that this will be a net gain for the city, or that it fits with the idea behind the tax in '94.

Also, I am generally skeptical of public/private projects like this, especially when they're based on overly optimistic projections of future revenue - there are many examples of them that don't work out as planned, leaving taxpayers on the hook.

In my view, public entities should operate to provide basic infrastructure and public services, and private ones should operate in their fashion, rather than these mishmashy combinations, with tax abatements and the like.

chocolateplease 1 year, 11 months ago

Yes. It's not incompatible to love your community and make some money in the process. It's a win-win, right? It might sound sarcastic, but I'm serious. I imagine that many developers see themselves as people helping the community, and in many cases the development IS good for the community. And they have to earn a living too, unless they're at the point of philanthropy.

Bob Forer 1 year, 11 months ago

Yeah, you tell em, Thomas. And I am sure your wife doesn't even own a mink coat, but instead, a respectable Republican cloth coat.

I know you're not making a dime off the deal, but please, don't forget to mention the one thing you have received, so the opponents of Rock Chalk Park don't try to use it against you. You know, that little cocker spaniel dog that some KU booster shipped in a crate all the way from Western Kansas. Black and white spotted, I hear, and I have been told your little girl loves it.

And regardless of what people say about it, you're gonna keep it, right?

COjayrocks 1 year, 11 months ago

You are just like 80% of the other commentors here: entitled. You slander Fritzel for looking out for the best interest of his company and family's well-being all while keeping your hand out waiting for YOUR gift. And the irony is you are typing this at in the comments of an article where Fritzel is DONATING MONEY TO KU AND THE CITY OF LAWRENCE!! So hypocritical and it makes me sick.

Your motto: What has Fritzel, Lawrence, us, done for YOU lately???

leftylucky 1 year, 11 months ago

Ku endowment and ku athletics are 2 years behind in filing their form 990. Type in kansas endowment form 990 for the 2010 tax form filed in April 2012. Same for KAnsas athletics form 990. No way should they be given any tax break. Not up to date on their tax filings.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 11 months ago

KU does not need a financing arm..... KU Athletics Inc could be the financing arm in fact could write a check to finance the operation.

Granting big money abatements after the fact is inappropriate not to mention the lions share of taxpayers would not approve of this rather questionable type of business behavior..... certainly NOT by our elected officials. . Put Rock Chalk to a vote. WE can vote on it in April

Richard Heckler 1 year, 11 months ago

Asking one bidder is a smoke and screen operation. The other bidder(s) knows going into the process know full well Fritzel is the building contractor making the profit.

This project is all about selling that piece of real estate plus more and more and more and more and more houses and/or to fill the estimated thousands of empty roof tops. Another thought is that something like this will present the facade of a big city which also explains the desire for higher buildings downtown.

The more Lawrence expands the more it cost to financially manage this community which comes back on existing property owners.

Will the new projects produce NEW property taxes? NO = zero.

Will the new projects add new expenses to the budget? Absolutely several hundred thousand dollars a year.

Bring this matter of tax abatements and the field house to the voting taxpayers NOT the city commission.

seenitall 1 year, 11 months ago

When I opened the paper and read the headline "We're doing it because we love the community" I burst out laughing. Loves the community enough to sneak the cell phone towers on the Oread and that foolishness with the Varsity House. How does that story go where the snake begs for help and the person that helps the snake gets bit? I think the snake says "well you knew I was a snake when you picked me up"

homergoodtimes 1 year, 11 months ago

City Commissioner Mike Dever said "he now has a better understanding of how the sports complex would be run and that it would be done so in a way that the public could have confidence in".

After more then a year of being the lead cheerleader for this project it's good to know Dever now better understands how it will be run...... What an idiot

homergoodtimes 1 year, 11 months ago

Thomas, the people you pay to make good decisions for you should have told you not to break your silence.

grammaddy 1 year, 11 months ago

Blah,blah,blah,. Lance Armstrong wasn't doping either. Whatever.

werekoala 1 year, 11 months ago

Wow... just wow. Sometimes it's better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a shady good-old-boy, than to open your mouth and prove it!

Sure, you're only doing this out of your love for the community, and you won't make a dime off it. Say, in that case, why not give up on this controversial plan, and instead build the cops the new headquarters they need. You know, out your selfless desire to improve your beloved community?

If Mr. Fritzel really wasn't planning on profiting on this operation, he could have set up Bliss Sports as a not-for-profit organization and saved a ton of money in taxes.

If he wasn't gonna make money off it...

jhawk1998 1 year, 11 months ago

While it may be admirable if his company is doing that at no profit, that doesn't mean it should come at a cost to home owners. Be a true humanitarian and pay the taxes and don't ask those that can't afford to contribute.

jhawkinsf 1 year, 11 months ago

It's been suggested in this forum, and it sounded like a reasonable explanation to me, that if this was a K.U. facility, then activities there would come under the scrutiny of the NCAA. If that were done, then tournaments involving recruits would not be allowed. Therefore, a certain distance needs to be maintained between K.U. and the facility.

LWbored 1 year, 11 months ago

Can we just put the New Lawrence Rec Center somewhere else, like right by Walmart and let Fritzel have his stupid Jayhawk whatever a million miles from Campus? I want my family to go work out and not deal with this ridiculous Fritzel monster place. We have several rec centers in town and each side, Poor and Wealthy, deserves a nice place with nice equipment.

Phil Minkin 1 year, 11 months ago

So, his construction company won't profit from the build of the facility? and will there be a management fee for operation it? Consulting fees?

Catalano 1 year, 11 months ago

What about the $2 million from Bill Self's Assists Foundation that started this whole mess? Is it still in the mix somewhere?

windjammer 1 year, 11 months ago

We were hopeful you would run for commissioner. You have might vote for durn sure.

n0mjs 1 year, 11 months ago

....And now in comes the property tax abatement that is "necessary". I could afford to buy a larger home, if I only didn't have to pay those pesky property taxes. And really, wouldn't that be a benefit to the community? Think of it. I'd have to hire someone to build it, thus creating jobs! I'm a job creator, but a property tax abatement on my new home would be "necessary" for me to do that good for the community.

If you can't afford to own it, you can't afford to build it. I'm tired of watching the County continually increase my home valuation well beyond what I can sell it for, while it seems like every moderately sized business gets a break.

Let's stop subsidizing businesses who can't make the numbers work by shifting property taxes to the individuals.

n0mjs 1 year, 11 months ago

City leaders, I call to your attention a concept you seem to not understand. I understand you do not believe you need to bring this to a public vote for several reasons, however, in a government of, by and for the people, it is WE THE PEOPLE who make that decision, not you. If you are so confident of the merit of the project, why not bring this to us?

ref·er·en·dum [ref-uh-ren-duh m] noun, plural ref·er·en·dums, ref·er·en·da [-duh]

  1. the principle or practice of referring measures proposed or passed by a legislative body to the vote of the electorate for approval or rejection.

  2. a measure thus referred.

  3. a vote on such a measure. Origin: 1840–50; < Latin: thing to be referred (neuter gerund of referre to bring back; see refer)

Source: dictionary.com

hujiko 1 year, 11 months ago

Fritzel may not profit, but I'll guarantee his share in astroturf will go up.

KiferGhost 1 year, 11 months ago

toe 24 minutes ago The sport fans who bought tickets and watched on TV built this facility. They demand winning programs or they will leave. This is a reaction to that pressure to win and capture revenue. If anything, this project may be too modest. It is being touted as a world class facility. How about being the best facility in the world. A better goal. Build it, exempt it, lavish it with praise. It keeps money flowing to Lawrence from the only profit activity of the University.

Thanks for bringing to our attention what the real problem is, sports in an academic setting. Privatize all the sports crap and move it off campus and let the rich boys have at it on their dime. A university should only be a place for scholars. Let's return the other stuff back to either private or trade schools. Why the hell shouldn't business schools be ran by business isn't of allowing them one more perk by subsidizing the training of their talent? God knows the notion of learning ethics at the university hasn't worked. The corrupting influence of the business school and sports are bringing down academics. Shoot, why aren't the Koch's opening their own businesses schools if they want the free market system to work? Why aren't the billionaire sports team owners developing their own talent and paying for the stadiums? Oh that's right, we socialize the expenses and privatize the profits just like Fritzel is doing here.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 1 year, 11 months ago

No matter the politics of this project. It is a much better deal for the city, as it at least has the potential to pay for some of costs. The new library is totally a money pit as it the empT and all the bicycle paths.

Greg Cooper 1 year, 11 months ago

Dang, I thought I was going to agree with one of your posts, and then you had to go and ruin i with your last statement. Ah, well, ther is hope still...........

Bruce Bertsch 1 year, 11 months ago

I always wonder if the bitch and moan folks even read the article. KUEA owns the land, KU Athletics manages the property. Bliss builds it and leases it to the KUEA for $1.3 million per year for 30 years. All profits from operation go to KU Athletics, Inc. KU, not the Fritzels need the property tax abatement so that this land, like Allen Fieldhouse and Memorial Stadium are not subject to property taxes. KU will ask the legislature for a permanent abatement once it is built. This part will be built, regardless of what the city does with the rec center. It is a KU project being financed by Bliss. No, KU Athletics does not have the cash, nor the borrowing authority to do this on its own. It will be raising $$$ to fix Memorial Stadium and finish renovations on Allen Fieldhouse.

KiferGhost 1 year, 11 months ago

The stadium and the fieldhouse sit on and they are State property that is why it is exempt from property taxes. KUEA and Bliss is not the State. Our business people should be able to make this work just like ma and pa small business owner and if they can't then it shouldn't be built unless they think they can make enough money to make it work.

The simple fact is it is time to remove the KU Athletics from the university. Privatize it, just like all the big businesses people want to do with medical services for the poor. Hell if it is good enough for the poor it should be good enough for the fat cats.

KiferGhost 1 year, 11 months ago

Let's see how much Fritzel loves Lawrence by helping KU with academic buildings in need. I'm sure why his father in law is skirting paying taxes on his hefty donation to this project while taking away more money that could be used for education and health care we should believe it is because goll darn it, they just like people.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 11 months ago

When it comes to exercise taxpayers do not need $40 million tax $$$$$$ buildings. Sidewallks,bike and hike trails,bicycles,feet,legs and shoes plus the great outdoors have been performing quite well for at least 100 years.

If the lions share of the population used indoor facilities there would need to be a facility at every corner to meet demand. As it is there is a fair amount of turnover meaning going out of business.

Steve Miller 1 year, 11 months ago

“We’re doing it because we love to make money for ouselves while we convince you that we care about the community.

Yep, and pigs also fly !! Another fritzer #hitzer ...

lawrencereporter 1 year, 11 months ago

Notice: Resolution 7002 on the agenda for approval this Tuesday night.

Section 8. Authorization to Proceed. Bliss is hereby authorized to proceed with the acquiring, constructing and equipping of the Project, including the necessary planning and engineering for the Project and entering into of contracts and purchase orders in connection therewith, and to advance such funds as may be necessary to accomplish such purposes, and, to the extent permitted by law and upon compliance with the other requirements of this Resolution, Bliss may be reimbursed for all expenditures paid or incurred therefor out of the proceeds of the Bonds

Your city commissioners are rushing authorization for Fritzel to start construction, ignoring city policies and procedures for public incentives and not divulging contents of agreements containing taxpayers obligations and costs.

Disgusting.....

Enoughsaid 1 year, 11 months ago

I've never met Thomas Fritzel, but the Journal-World sure has done lots of stories on him. From what I've read, he already tried twice to swindle city hall with his building code violations. Is this the type of contractor anybody would want to do business with?

I've stayed at the Oread, it is about gouging you for every little extra and if its a football weekend--you better bring your platinum credit card.

Fritzel should invite Lance Armstrong and the KU folks to the Oread for a few beers and discuss who is the bigger liar!

Richard Heckler 1 year, 11 months ago

God forbid those politically connected to the real estate industry such as lenders,developers,property managers,land owners,contractors etc etc etc step up and finance their own way. Funding their own profits is a new concept in the late 20th - 21st century. Now so much is on taxpayers in which the lions share are not part the profit sharing.

City Hall and these project minded folks are always putting out some story that somehow we stakeholding taxpayers should be grateful for them bilking us out of tax dollars.

Too many reckless ventures never pay back the taxpayers so how exactly does that improve the quality of life for the largest group of stakeholders?

Mike Myers 1 year, 11 months ago

Nice quote I found today that seemed relevant.

George Kessler, and the first park commissioners, wrote that "it is far better to plan comprehensively and broadly and proceed with actual construction leisurely, than to attempt economy in the original plans, expecting on that account more ready assent on the part of the public, and more rapid progress of construction." Their plan lived up to this goal; it was visionary in scope and took decades to build. The plan presented in October 1893 did not spring from a vacuum. It was the result of a generation's agitation for parks in Kansas City .

Richard Heckler 1 year, 11 months ago

By Price Banks, Lawrence January 19, 2013

To the editor:

Recent city zoning actions on West Sixth Street have nothing to do with city planning or urban design. They simply follow the recent pattern of replacing good planning principals with “Let’s Make a Deal.”

Let’s face it; our plans mean nothing. Land-use decisions depend on what the developer can bring to the table. Whenever a proposal is contrary to the “plan,” the plan is amended after the decision, unless the applicant has fallen out of favor with commissioners.

Planning is no longer part of the process prior to the land use decision. Plans are considered to be mere encumbrances and obstacles to be dealt with after the decision is made. Our professional planners are charged not with “planning” but with creating reactive mechanisms to navigate the maze of non-compliance without embarrassing the commissioners. Too often, land use decisions are accomplished with a wink and a nod outside of the planning process.

City planning should create stability. Folks should have reasonable expectations of how the future will impact their investments, and what the surrounding environment will be. That will no longer the case in Lawrence, if we continue to eschew planning principles in favor of “Let’s Make a Deal.”

We are losing the opportunity to design inviting gateways along major streets leading into Lawrence. We continue to create trashy gauntlets of “strip malls” and “big box stores” that must be painfully navigated before a visitor arrives at the jewel that is the true City of Lawrence.

Wayne Propst 1 year, 11 months ago

Take some zeros away....to put this oin a typical tax payer reality.....could you rent a $500,000 loft style condo for $1,100.00 per month?

jack22 1 year, 11 months ago

I thought Fritzel was giving the city this small portion of land for the recreation center so that the city would bring in all the infrastructure and traffic that would allow him to further develop the rest of the property he owns out there in the middle of nowhere. Without the recreation center as the focal point this land would be rather useless and expensive to develop and probably wouldn't have any real commercial use for another 20 years. I can see from reading this article that I was wrong. Fritzel just loves the University and the community. What a great guy, without Fritzel, KU sports would probably go bankrupt and be forced to move to Topeka. But with Fritzel's love and generous heart nothing like that's going to happen and it's not going to cost us one red penny.

COjayrocks 1 year, 11 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

George Lippencott 1 year, 11 months ago

Who builds the $25M M City Facility. Does someone profit from that? It seems it is tied to the KU facility but ....

lunatic 1 year, 11 months ago

A lot of BS posts here. Why don't some of you wieners come out from behind your iPad and do something productive and positive for this town is stead of the constant whining.

lunatic 1 year, 11 months ago

Hey dipstick! No property taxes used to pay for this thing. So KMB!

Richard Heckler 1 year, 11 months ago

PLAY

There has been significant input from the Chamber/banking/real estate industry from day one and who knows how many meetings prior to day one.

http://www.ci.lawrence.ks.us/currenttopics/PLAY/i_executive%20summary.pdf

Overview In 2006, a committee of interested community volunteers came together to study the needs and potential for state of the art competitive and recreational sports venues within the Lawrence, Kansas community.

The committee requested the support of local organizations to financially support a feasibility study and needs assessment to evaluate the need and potential support for these facilities.

The City of Lawrence, Lawrence Public School District, Douglas County, Kansas, and the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce partnered to financially support this study.

PLAY Committee Members Kelly Barth, Mark Buhler, Dave Corliss, Fred DeVictor, Rick Gammill, Mike Grosdidier, Sue Hack, Paige Hofer, Bonnie Lowe, Pam Madl, Julie Manning, Scott Morgan, Wayne Osness, Linda Robinson, Bob Sanner, Ernie Shaw, Doug Stremel and Doug Vance.

The Mission Statement of PLAY Partners for Lawrence Athletics and Public Youth (PLAY) is a partnership of The City of Lawrence, Douglas County Kansas, Lawrence School District 497 and The Lawrence Chamber of Commerce to conduct a needs assessment and feasibility study to evaluate the need and potential support for state of the art competitive and recreational sports venues for our community

Background and Process In August of 2006, the PLAY Committee selected Treanor Architects, P.A. of Lawrence, Kansas as the prime consultant to complete this assessment and needs study. Treanor Architects brought a team of consultants to assist in this study: Green Play LLC, Landplan Engineering, Richard Caplan and Associates, and Leisure Vision/ETC.

This team has worked together over the last eight months to conduct a needs assessment, a random public survey, worked with the PLAY committee to identify new and improved venues, and developed this final study and report.

The first step in the needs assessment was to collect data from a variety of sources. Three methods were developed to collect data for this study. The design team has completed the following: http://www.ci.lawrence.ks.us/currenttopics/PLAY/i_executive%20summary.pdf

stuart 1 year, 11 months ago

Hey all you posters that think Thomas Fritzel is going to make out like a bandit, why don't you step up to the plate and do the same thing he is proposing? If the man is willing, why not let him do it? If he makes a dollar who cares? Lawrence will be the big winner, if you are afraid he is going to get stacks of money for his proposal.... jump on the opportunity and match his generous offer.

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