Lake Placid CEO flip-flops interest in new RFP; City administration dragging its feet; Nasser financial commitment seems murky, halfhearted
Manlio Marescotti, Karim Nasser, and Michael Lobsinger,
in council chambers Mar. 22, 2010
(Photo by Richard Marjan, SP)
in council chambers Mar. 22, 2010
(Photo by Richard Marjan, SP)
‘Developers tout plan;
The River Landing Parcel “Y” soap opera was back at city council on March 22, 2010. Participating in the latest embarrassing installment was Lake Placid Developments CEO Michael Lobsinger, Karim Nasser, a director of Victory Majors Investments Corporation, and Manlio Marescotti, vice-president of lodging development for Marriott
Lobsinger and Nasser, according to the StarPhoenix, have “signed a partnership” to build the riverfront hotel-condo-office-retail project “contingent on city hall reviving” Lake Placid’s sales agreement that expired October 30, 2009.
“We could complete (this project) in its entirety within 36 to 38 months,” said Lobsinger.
Both parties told reporters after the meeting they are not interested in participating with other developers in a request for proposals, which city administration was working to get in front of councillors on April 19, the StarPhoenix said.
“Am I interested in another (request for proposals)?” Lobsinger said. “No I am not. The process that it took me to get approval was 30 months. . . . We’re ready to get going literally in May. We can start now instead of two years from now.”
Lobsinger appears to be flip-flopping from what he told the city’s executive committee on November 23, 2009.
The StarPhoenix reported at the time that Lobsinger “indicated he would enter another bid if another request is sent out by the city.”
“Would I come back? Absolutely. I’ve spent 32 months on this project.” [
Why is Lobsinger now backing away from participating in another RFP? Perhaps it’s because
Chris Carr of NewsTalk 980 radio reported
“I think it’s wonderful to be able to proceed with it. If we want to go beyond that, it takes a long time, and I don’t know whether I am interested myself to start something new like that,” said
Furthermore, the level of
Nasser recently told CBC News he is prepared to write
“We would be very happy to pay them the money that they need right away,”
On November 23, Lobsinger told the executive committee he was “one signature away” from transferring the funds necessary to complete the project. In other words, he still didn’t have the money. This was one month after the October deadline.
According to the StarPhoenix nothing has changed since then. When asked on March 23 “about the elusive signature” the developer said it was “not an issue for the public.”
“Nothing has happened, I’m one signature away,” he said. [Developers tout plan (StarPhoenix, March 23, 2010)]
And then there is city administration who seem to be dragging their feet getting the updated RFP into council’s hands.
At its November 23 meeting, the executive committee considered a report by city manager Murray Totland recommending: “that the Executive Committee recommend to City Council that the Administration be authorized to consolidate Parcel “Y” with the land adjacent to Parcel “Y” and proceed to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) with a fixed purchase price based on an updated appraisal value.”
The committee resolved: “that the matter be referred back to the Administration for a report regarding the current appraised value of the land, together with possible alterations to the RFP and to the DCD1 Guidelines.”
City officials said the process “will likely take three months.” [
It appears the new RFP should have been ready by February 22 and is nearly two months late. It won’t get to council until April 19. Why the delay?
On March 22, city council directed administration to report back on April 12 on the financials of the
Councillors Dubois, Heidt, Hill, Lorje, Neault, Paulsen, Pringle, and Wyant voted in favour of the motion, while Councillor Clark voted against. Councillor Penner, who was absent from the meeting, has stated in the past that he supports reopening negotiations with
Forgotten in all this is council’s August 19, 2009, resolution that there would be no more chances for
1) that the Amending Agreement to the Memorandum of Agreement for the sale of Parcel Y, River Landing, and the Sale Agreement for the Lane Adjacent to Parcel Y, which provides for extension of the Construction Requirement to June 30, 2010, be further amended to:
a) extend the time for payment of the balance of the Purchase Price for each of Parcel Y and the Lane to 5:00 p.m., October 30, 2009, provided that all interest accrued under both Agreements, totalling $214,197.19, is paid on August 31, 2009; and
b) provide for termination of each Agreement in the event that either payment referred to in a) is not received.
On October 30, 2009, just two days after the civic election,
Not only has city council disgraced itself and made a mockery of the process, so have city administrators.
After all, it was administration that recommended the firm deadline in the first place. In a report to council on August 19 the city manager said: “if payment of the full balances owing under each agreement is not received by 5:00 p.m. on October 30, 2009, both agreements would also be at an end without a further resolution of Council.”
However, in the StarPhoenix that same day, city manager Murray Totland said he was “hopeful” that
“I think it’s in our best interest for the city for this deal to proceed.” [City meets with
Then, on November 15, 2009, the day before Lobsinger was scheduled to address council, Totland said “it would be a pleasant circumstance” if Lobsinger were to come to council with funding in place.
“We’ve supported their development and we still believe a Lake Placid-like development would be a good one for River Landing,” he said. [
On November 20, 2009, the StarPhoenix confirmed that “the city’s administration would support” selling the land directly to the developer “to avoid a potential funding shortfall and mill rate hit for the year-to-year operation” of the River Landing project. [Open bids recommended for River Landing site (StarPhoenix, November 20, 2009)]
From Day One city council and administration have bent over backwards to accommodate the developer, showing nothing but favouritism. It’s no surprise that the mayor and the majority of council are willing to sell out even further by betraying their August 19 decision. Council, you see, has nothing left to lose. It bankrupted itself long ago of any integrity or credibility on the River Landing file.
Recent River Landing posts
November 25, 2009:
River Landing farce continues as city committee gives
November 19, 2009:
Mayor Don Atchison should explain nature of relationship with Lake Placid CEO Michael Lobsinger; City administration flip-flops on Parcel “Y”
September 28, 2009:
River Landing cost hits $135-million; Mayor Don Atchison’s comments insulting to Mendel family; public misled on new art gallery being “shovel ready”