I've been asked to reprint Mike Lancaster's comment in larger print. Here it is.
Excellent email and comments following. I also had to smile at Rick's math, and wonder at the estimated value of the property. The actual cost to the developer could be much higher as it is supposed to be based on outside appraisal, not Rick's estimate. Even so, it's a great deal since the value is guaranteed to escalate if the Village is built.
When I first read about this deal I thought it was okay, but then saw they really only need to build and operate one restaurant for a year, not all three. I also understood the penalty to be the property would revert to the city if the developer failed to meet the performance criteria. That should be a great deal - $850,000 in property for $50,000 in land. (See Rick's math.) BUT, that's not the deal. The deal is, the developer gets the land at today's price, has to build and operate one small restaurant for a year, then the city will refund the purchase price. If it fails, the city has the option to buy everything back for the amount invested. In otherwords, this is a guaranteed deal for the developer. If they fail, the city will buy them out at no loss to them. If they can hold out for a year, they get the land free, and can sell some or all of it at a guaranteed profit.
So, back to Rick's math. The city gives up the land value, regardless of the amount. The city does not get $850,000 in return. The city will get taxes on the improved property, but let's face it, it will be a fewwwww years before that excceeds the value of the land - even at Rick's estimate.
All in all, not a great deal (IMO) but compared to Terra Lago and The Village, not bad. (IMO)
Change of topic to the propsed toll road. Obviously, this should benefit Greenville. A lot. Rowlett? It beats me how another road from here to Greenville will be a benefit to us. Absolutely none if we don't get ramps and frontage roads in the deal, and none have been promised.
One aspect of privately owned toll roads that nobody has mentioned is the tolls themselves. Read a little about other privately operated toll roads and see the history of toll increases. They can be (have been) shocking. Kind of reminds me of cable TV - low introductory rates that inflate year after year. But with cable, you can switch to Direct TV. What do you do when your business, or simply getting to work everyday, depends on driving down the toll road? We may not love NTTA, but there are definite limits on their toll increases and we can petition against them. Not so with private toll roads.
Special note: Mike is a dedicated and loyal citizen of Rowlett. He was involved in the early formation of Keep Rowlett Beautiful, and remains very active in their work. KRB is working on something all the time to help our town. They are big supporters of the proposed Environmental Learning Center. I am a very strong supporter of these activities. The ELC is long overdue. The last city manager was not particularly supportive. It languished. It is long past the time to get this facility into operation to benefit our school kids. Science is good. Good science is even better.