I think it should have been made more clear that the city is not paying the $37 million mentioned as the purchase price of South Bayside. This price is being paid by the new developer/partner. Also, the information coming from the city seems to suggest that the city is doing all the negotiating. It should have been made more clear that the negotiation of the price is being done in conjunction with any new developers.
For those objecting to the price that we citizens don't have to pay, some basic facts were presented. However, I'm not sure many in the audience understood the appraisal process. First, the value of the original purchase was $31.7 million. But, the price should not have been divided equally between the North and South Bayside. South Bayside was worth more because of the location at the very point of the land. The site is surrounded on three sides by water. Ask any broker what's that worth. I placed a 60/40 split on the price, with the South worth $19,020,000 and the North worth $12,680,000. To the $19K one must add three years of inflation of 8.5%. This inflation income only offsets the cost of money over three years. It replaced interest expense if the money was borrowed, or the lost income if the land was purchased with cash. This "inflation income" amounted to $5,290,000, compounded annually, and was used up by cost of money. In addition to the cost of money, there were taxes and liability insurance for the three years. These expenses had to be all costed out. The new purchasers would receive nearly $3 million of costs already advanced for development costs, including the "franchise fee" for the lagoon. What I did not know earlier was that the purchase of the marina was also included in the new price. I don't know what that number is without seeing the books, but I would guess $3-$4 million. If you add all the above up, the "profit" paid to the current owners is beginning to get fairly skinny. The "profit" is not near what first glance suggests. Furthermore, the mayor stated that an earlier appraisal of the land of South Bayside was $42 million. When you add in the costs of lawyers and the PR campaign, the "profit" gets even less. I would characterize the departure of the current land owners as more an "escape" rather than a successful venture.
Another topic that I think should have been emphasized more is the importance of Bayside to Rowlett. The Bayside land is a very important piece of commercial land. I think it's the best commercial site between downtown Dallas and Memphis. I count high rise condos as commercial. I have said, "So goes Bayside, so goes Rowlett." If Bayside fails, Rowlett will become the butt of jokes. If Bayside succeeds, Rowlett will be the envy of all nearby cities and towns. If Bayside succeeds as portrayed, every property owner in Rowlett will prosper. New jobs will be created. Property values will increase. Taxes should go down. The more desirable Rowlett becomes as a place to live, the more rewards come your way. Rowlett is part of one of the fastest growing areas in the United States. We are becoming metropolitan because people move here. We have jobs and opportunities in the whole North Texas area. We have to build a town that reflects these conditions. Bayside is going to require workers. Where will we put them? Land will become too valuable for half acre lots. Do we have to have wall to wall apartments? Of course not, but we need enough to take care of our needs. I moved here 43 years ago and I picked Rowlett for its rural atmosphere. Those days are gone. I still like the rural atmosphere, but I would have to move to Commerce to get it back. I'll stay here. I can make more money.
I have two big worries still yet. One is the selection of the new developer. Who is it and do they have the skills and disciplines to properly market and manage Bayside? I don't have a clue. I understand why they don't want known at this time and I have no problem with that. However, who at the helm of City Hall has the experience and knowledge to determine the prime developers and the kinda okay developers? Bayside deserves the best, particularly if Rowlett is to win. Texas and Dallas in particular, has some of the best real estate developers in the world. I see absolutely no advantage in selecting a second rate developer.
Finally, another worry of mine is traffic. This is going to be a very big problem. I think the city should keep we citizens more aware of what is being done to alleviate the traffic problem that everybody can see coming. Traffic control will contribute significantly to the success of Bayside. I learned some new "stuff" about the traffic issue last night. It should be sent out to all Rowlett citizens. They couldn't all be there last night.
Generally speaking, I am behind the efforts of City Council. I think they are making the right moves, considering the circumstances. The information last night was factual, without spin. That is good. The citizens of Rowlett need to marshal up behind Council on this matter and support the efforts. There were some negatives from citizens last night, but most were misdirected somewhat, and could have probably been less consuming if more clarity were forwarded by the city.
If you couldn't make the meeting, watch it on live feed on the City of Rowlett website.