|Lights, camera.....what? No Video??|
One of the things discussed at last weekend's City of Laredo council retreat at the remote and mysterious Needmore ranch, was the Town Center Mall. Some of you might recall that a few years ago the developers of the mall wanted to eradicate the "wetlands" adjacent to the proposed mall across from the Laredo Intl Airport. Long story short: negotiations stalled and the developers failed to continue their venture after leasing the land from the city.
Incidentally, there was a big public outcry about the wetlands issue and thousands of signatures were secured on a petition. Wetland supporters addressed our city council and insisted that the wetlands be spared. Some say this action was enough to stop the developers, others say that it entirely a legal roadblock that helped spare the wetland area.
Now, after one of the worst droughts in Texas history, some (like Tom Wade) are saying the wetlands have since dried up and are no more. I admit I haven't confirmed this myself.
Anyway, following is my paraphrasing of the audio (no video was taken) at the retreat in regards to the Town Center Mall discussion.
In regards to town center- they owe us money, it’s true says Villarreal (CV). They no longer want to pay a rental fee – they want to buy the property. We’re in process of negotiating with Laredo Town Center and I’ll (CV) send you a draft letter of a proposed letter in trying to negotiate a letter and it’ll include any past rent they owe . Draft letter should be sent out Monday (March 25th).
Some of the reasons they didn’t’ want to build was: 1) environmental concerns, 2)Also, they didn’t’ want to lease, they wanted to own. Mayor says that the “people” who came to talk about buying that property were “very, very interested”. Mayor says it would be a multi-million dollar project that would create at least 100 jobs. Mayor says we need to revisit as soon as possible.
San Miguel chimes in- asks about some warehouses (city property) that were demolished once the land was leased to the developers. These were worth about 3Million dollars. He says city should take that cost into consideration (Airport director says that these buildings were fairly new) so CV says then, yes- it should be taken into consideration.
Charlie then asks if town center property is within metes and bounds of LEA sports venue tax district. CV says “no” this is not part of the sports venue tax district. CV says that Texas Attorney General decides if a certain project is within the sports venue tax guidelines.
CV then provides some info on the proposed draft letter concerning possible sale of town center property. They are NOT paying rent BECAUSE city is in negotiation for the sale of the property according to CV.
Narvaez- (inaudible) – something about Riverdrive mall.
Rendon-(inaudible)-something about the township proposal again.
Rangel then asks when might deal be finalized with township sale. CV says that well it might be soon- letter is ready to send but was not sent because CV wanted to discuss it at retreat. Rangel asks if the buyers have any time limit to build something on that property. CV keeps saying that if they buy it, it’s theirs. Rangel says that we don’t want to sell it to someone who’s just going to sit on it. CV says this is America and they have a right to do with the property whatever they wish. We cannot force to do something specific with them- Legal (Casso) agrees with CV. Rangel keeps asking if there’s any way to “force” them to build something in a certain amount of time.
That's all for now