Randy Alexander's Capitol West development has also struggled to make the payments on its $4.27 million TIF "loan" -- in 2009, the city had to re-write the deal, in order to prevent a default.
The city is also on the hook for the Overture Center's operating budget deficit. While the OC's cheerleaders claim that it has boosted property values and been an economic development engine for downtown, one wonders why, in that case, so many of the Capitol West condos remain unsold. The cheerleaders also talk about the public benefit of having a vibrant community arts facility. They conveniently forget that the OC's predecessor, the Madison Civic Center, hosted even more community arts groups, most of whom cannot afford the higher rents at the OC.
Now, after backing off his
I think the real reason for all of this is that Madison's west-side power brokers want to pretend they're living in Manhattan, with high-rise condos, Broadway shows, gourmet groceries and elegant, overpriced hotels. I expect our new improved downtown library to have an entrance flanked by lion statues. We already saw a return of the Statue of Liberty on the lake this past winter. Maybe we can drop a lighted disco ball from the top of the State Capitol on New Year's Eve, too.