Is Windsor Closed To Business
Something bothered people yesterday about what is going on in Windsor. My BLOGsite hits spiked upwards rather dramatically which meant a lot of people came to my site. I would expect that my BLOGS today will get people very concerned as well.
To be honest, if I was going to take Chair Remo Manicini's offer to become the head of the Economic Development Commission, I would reconsider today. Do you want to be the one whose job it is to turn off the last light in Windsor?
I cannot think of any two worse signals that this City has given about how adverse we are to business, and how bad our economy is than what took place yesterday. It tells me that nothing will happen in the downtown for years, no matter how much Mark Boscariol may wish it differently, and how badly the blackmark about this City as a place to invest is growing.
One story has to do with Sandwich. The message to business is take your billion dollar project and shove it. Windsor doesn't want your money here.
Oh Councillor Jones can talk about a building or two being occupied on Peter St some day as his "proof" of the Sandwich renaissance (after Leon Paroian had said that nothing has happened there in 50 years) but he has not told us what happened to the big investor who wanted to put $100,000 into Sandwich. Why won't Councillor Jones tell us who he is and what he is going to do.
Here's a hint to his/her possible identity--I bet that the investor must be a real guru who can see the value of Sandwich. Unfortunatley, the last guru who was in Windsor seems to have "downsized" his office and staff here!
But that is not the big story in Sandwich....that one is that Councillor Valentinis has to compare the Bridge Co. with some developer who sneaks in at midnight to chop down a tree as justification for the unseemly haste of "freezing" all of Sandwich with an Interim Control By-law.
Let's see, the Bridge Co. has spent $500 million so far to develop their project in Sandwich and wants to spend $500 Milion more. If my math is right that is ONE BILLION DOLLARS--and our Council opposes them. Not only opposes them but has not had the courtesy to answer a letter sent out by the Bridge Co. last November to the new Council asking to meet.
I guess that there are no unemployed in Sandwich and in Ward 2 and that businesses are booming such that there is no need for jobs and customers.
Oh well, it is Dan Stamper's fault. He is after all only the 4th largest taxpayer in Windsor. Our Mayor only talks to the Olympic Gold, Silver and Bronze medal winners it seems.
However, if Dan waits long enough, as the Big Three quietly wind down their operations here, and as the Casino does not get the business it expects as the perception of the border not working grows, by default he may be the biggest business in town! I wonder if he will want to talk to Eddie then at all.
However, that is not the most troubling story to me. This one should make Mark Boscariol reconsider his comment to me:
- "My support for Mayor Francis is unwaivering, I only wish to work with him more to continue the momentum and not let it stall."
Hey Mark, this kind of momentum scares me. I have had enough of it. Haven't you yet?
I am sure that you saw the small story at the top of page 2 in Tuesday's Star: "Developer gets 3 years to complete land swap." Oh my, real estate must be in very bad shape here now.
When the arena land swap was done, what we were getting at our Crown jewel of land beside the Art Gallery was a huge development. I believe Mr. Farhi when he said:
- "he will use the year to line up potential buyers for a "first-class" condominium development overlooking Windsor's waterfront, with retail on the ground floor.
"The building next to the Art Gallery is going to warrant a first- class facility," he said in a telephone interview Tuesday. "I am not building anything unless it is first class."
Well several months later, as he began to understand our market, we learn that in exchange for the City not paying $200,000 but only $100,000 for soil clean-up, Mr. Farhi won't have to build for three years!!! He extended his development time by 2 years.
In other words, it seems he must NOT have been able to find buyers for the condo or he would be building it now. He must need the extra time or else he might have a huge financial disaster on his hands if he built a building that no one occupied. Is that the real reason why he was so generous with us? He bought 2 years of time for a mere $100,000.
Now Mr. Farhi should not be so shocked about how bad the condo market is. Remember, Chuck Mady a few months ago was offering huge discounts off of the price of units in his first-class building to get rid of the final ones. Why would the market be any better now after all of the lay-offs in Windsor? Who would the buyers be?
Now I have a great idea. Out of adversity grows opportunity as I heard so many times during the Capitol fiasco at Council. However, I need someone with a large pocket-book who can afford to hold land for a long time to be my partner. I have the brains but not the cash to make this work.
Think about this though as a plan, if you want to partner with me, so we can both make a huge fortune in real estate in Windsor. It is a long-term investment in Windsor--a very, very long-term investment--of prime real estate. It is better than the TV infomercials that show you how to buy property with "No Money Down" for only $39.95.
Windsor's real estate market is a shambles right now. The best property on the river has been exchanged with the gentleman from London. Eddie could barely give away the river-front Canderel space. Mr. Farhi has said that he now needs three years to build his condo project.
Everything is so bad that it is so good.
Here's how we can make money. Let's take advantage of distress pricing. You know a buyer's market or when someone is in default in their mortgage payment and is desperate or going through a messy divorce or having to leave town for a new job in Alberta.
The RFP for the Urban Village has not gone out yet but didn't Eddie say it would be soon?
- "Francis said a report to council in February will enable the city to issue a request for proposals and there are strong indications of developer interest."
I hope those developers were not the friend of Councillor Jones in Sandwich or Beztak before they got chased out of town or Chuck Mady before he moved most of his operations outside of Windsor or Eddie is in trouble. Frankly, who would be an developer in the urban village area now that Farhi owns such a good piece of property.
Anyway, when the RFP goes out, no one will probably submit a Proposal because of Windsor's anti-business attitude that we saw in Sandwich and bad real estate market so YOU, dear rich reader, should partner with me and make a low-ball bid.
You know what, the City will be so desperate since we are the only bidder and Eddie needs a WIN that they will accept it, no matter how bad it is! You'll have to hold on to the land for a bit but we will make a fortune once Eddie is no longer the Mayor and when the new Mayor and Council come to their senses.
We will be rich, partner. 60-40 split in my favour right since I thought this up? Trust me, have I ever lied to you before!
PS. I really like Mr. Farhi's style from reading about him online even though I do not know him. He is a tough and shrewd operator in the best sense of the word. Darn, he may also be my main competitor for the Urban Village too if this story is right.
It looks like he is playing the Councils of London and Windsor off against each other. Good for him! Do you really think he cares about building condos only in Windsor or is he just as interested in making a ton of money at the Lear plant location with commercial developments. He can always sell off prime water-front property at a profit.
Here is an interesting story about how he might be playing the game. He holds out a carrot to Windsor and threatens to leave London. Who will throw the most money at him to keep him around. What a great position to be in:
- "Wed, November 8, 2006
By NORMAN DE BONO, FREE PRESS BUSINESS REPORTER
London developer Shmuel Farhi has cut a big deal in Windsor.
He's agreed to a land swap that sees him get 0.4 hectares of prime downtown waterfront land in exchange for 16 hectares in the city's east end where the new arena for the Windsor Spitfires Ontario Hockey League team will go.
Farhi plans to build a $45-million, 20-storey condominium tower on the downtown site and another $50-million commercial and residential development near the new arena, he said yesterday.
The deal may be just the beginning of what he sees as an ongoing relationship.
"They called me and said they wanted to make a deal," Farhi said.
"Here's a city that picked up the phone and said they wanted to work with me. They sent people here and we got a deal done in three weeks."
Farhi has been at loggerheads with the City of London in recent years over developing parking in the downtown for his commercial buildings.
At a recent city council meeting, he threatened to tear down his London developments or invest elsewhere...
Windsor also will develop a four-hectare property, immediately behind the land Farhi now owns, as a downtown urban residential area and Francis said he expects Farhi to bid on the development."
Now Mr. Farhi likes Heritage buildings in London and bought their Capitol Theatre. Do you think Eddie can convince him to invest in ours as a new "good neighbour?" What a great coup that would be!