Retail on the Bottom

David Patzelt of Shodeen Group, LLC, sent a nice thank-you letter to the DeKalb city manager for attending a meeting between Shodeen principals and city officials in the matter of Shodeen’s latest project proposal. The letter was included in the agenda packet for Wednesday’s meeting of the Planning and Zoning Commission. It outlines Shodeen’s arguments against the city’s insistence on its providing retail space on the ground-floor level of the apartment complex plan.

As you know we are a commercial and retail Developer, Builder, Owner and Management Company. Like staff, we too wish that the market in DeKalb was strong enough to support commercial/retail in the lower level of the proposed residential building. As we discussed with you, City staffs position on this being a requirement is unwarranted and unfounded. Even if the City will subsidize the rent as well as commit to a guarantee of rent payments, we do not recommend the addition of retail space at this point in time. Staff continues to be unwilling to accept this without any basis other than a “want.” Empty retail space should not be a “want.”

(The underlined words appear that way in the original.)

No, it’s not a matter of acceptance, nor just a “want.” It’s an actual requirement for the downtown business district. Staff can’t change it. Only city council can.

But an even larger policy change would be the use of rent subsidies and guarantees to get the project built the way the city wants.

We knew we’d have a tussle over TIF funding for redevelopment on this site. Has the city placed other subsidies on the table for consideration?

I’ve begun a Facebook discussion thread here.