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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 2, 2009 9:08 PM. The previous post in this blog was It's Sunday afternoon -- don't forget to feed the meters. The next post in this blog is Take me out to the shell game. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Streetcar Kool-Aid

The taxpayers of San Antonio are about to take a drink.

Comments (17)

Streetcars: the expensive solution in search of a problem

Whaddaya mean? The problem of apartment developers not being rich enough for their own liking is very real.

"As it turns out, the little streetcar line — four miles from end to end — is an economic powerhouse, according to Portland officials. They say some $3.5 billion has been invested within two blocks of the streetcar line’s footprint. More than 10,000 new housing units and 5.4 million square feet of office space have been built in the same area."

Well, I am happy to find out what the driving force was behind the semi-success in the Pearl. Not, location, location, location, but the trolly!!

Well, I am happy to find out what the driving force was behind the semi-success in the Pearl. Not, location, location, location, but the trolly!!

I wonder if any of the elected officials in S.A. were informed that one of the main reasons for the massive development in the "Pearl" was the huge tax breaks. I've heard that there are still people with gigantic condos and lofts down in Fake New York who pay but a pittance in property taxes each year.

San Antonio is such a pretty old city, too. Well, aside from the nastier barrios, anyway. None other than Aleister Crowley, in his autobiography, remarked that S.A. and New Orleans were the only American cities with their own souls. It would be a shame to see all those old buildings bulldozed to make room for condo flak towers with 10 year tax abatements.

Virginia Cafe, anyone ? The St. Francis Hotel ? The Lovejoy Viaduct ?

Think of all the gloriously seedy Portland history that is now gone forever so that the Streetcar Mafia and their employees in our local Government could do something as craven and base as merely lining their pockets.

Once that architecture is gone, it's gone for good. Structures like those simply aren't built anymore.

Yes, WES has not done much for the areas it serves and the Pearl is all about those undeserved and crazy tax breaks. It would be one thing to lower taxes while the land is being redeveloped (which I still don't like) but once there are occupants, it's fairly unconscionable that people who own units that expensive get subsidies while folks in Lents pay real taxes and are probably still paying for the sewer installation.

THE Aleister Crowley, author of "The Book of Lies"?

Funny, they always mention the Pearl, but not SoWa.

There's never an idea so stupid or so expensive that some community won't adopt it anyway, thinking "It won't happen to us."

I just sent a link to friends in SA telling them to try and 'stop the madness'.

I see that Seattle's light rail line to the airport (except it's not there yet) opened last week. But I also noticed a link to the "South Lake Union Streetcar Line," and found to my dismay that Seattle has fallen for this nonsense too.

Gordo,

You are referring to the . . .

S outh
L ake
U nion
T rolley

And yes, most Seattle residents still refer to it as the SLUT, even though the transit authority is desperately trying to convince folks not to be so juvenile.

"I wonder if any of the elected officials in S.A. were informed that one of the main reasons for the massive development in the "Pearl" was the huge tax breaks. I've heard that there are still people with gigantic condos and lofts down in Fake New York who pay but a pittance in property taxes each year."

Almost all of the condo owners in the Pearl pay full taxes on their properties. The ones you are referring to are the few residential properties created out of old warehouses. As "historic" rehabilitations under State law their property taxes are frozen for 15 years at old run down warehouse rates.

And don't forget the folks at the Internationa Downtown Association(www.ida-downtown.org) who will for money of course teach all the government folks how to rip off the taxpayers with all sorts of variatons on the "improvement districts" scam.
Go by streetcar...but don't even attempt to watch your wallet.

I am so glad Salem is too small for such boondoggles. Of course, Cherriots do run mostly empty on many routes most of the time.

The ones you are referring to are the few residential properties created out of old warehouses. As "historic" rehabilitations under State law their property taxes are frozen for 15 years at old run down warehouse rates.

Nice try, but there are several that were built fairly recently (and not from old warehouses) that have tax abatements.

http://saveportland.org/por/Examples/Exemption.htm

"Nice try, but there are several that were built fairly recently (and not from old warehouses) that have tax abatements."

I think we are talking apples and oranges here. Clearly developers were given property tax breaks to build new "rental" units in the Pearl (& SOWHAT as well). Most of those Pearl 10 year tax breaks for apartment buildings have now expired though some remain. Individual condo owner tax breaks in the Pearl, which is what the earlier poster was talking about, are of the Historic variety. And by the way the recent legislature passed an additional 15 year extension of the Historic Rehab program.

Greg C, you are wrong about several things.

TOD's (Transit Oriented Development) tax breaks are numerous throughout the Pearl.

There are more than a few buildings in the Pearl receiving Historical tax breaks.

Over 65% of the buildings in the Pearl have been built in much less than the 10 year limit you mention, thus still getting tax breaks.

And even those that are older than 10 years enjoyed those ten years of tax breaks which in most cases were the impetus for their development-not just the trolley.

Then there are the numerous development costs paid for by taxpayers in part or all: trolley; street improvements; new streets; new walkways; plazas; parks; sidewalks; utility updates-moves-new; all the planners-attorneys-administration;....mostly through urban renewal bonds, and sometimes through fed, state and general city tax dollars.

Your picture misconstrues the facts.


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