In a May 12 memo to the mayor’s office, District 5 councilmember Carl DeMaio requested that plans to construct a new city hall building be demolished.
Armed with information from commercial lease consultant Irving Hughes, DeMaio discounted the reported benefits promoted by city officials and local redevelopment agencies during the past few months.
In his memo, the councilmember accused the City and project supporters of inflating the amount of money the City would save if plans for a new municipal center proceeded.
DeMaio referenced the letter from Irving Hughes as evidence. “It is vital that decision-makers understand that the savings implied by the financial models overstate the costs of the status quo option by at least $17 million over the first 10 years, and at least $40 million over the first 15 years,” read the letter from the real estate consultants.
In response to the new data released by Irving Hughes, DeMaio requested the mayor release all financial information about the lease to the public and asked that the Centre City Development Corporation (CCDC) respond publicly to the analysis from Irving Hughes in addition to releasing a detailed financial report outlining all the monies spent -- estimated at more than $2 million -- on public advocacy firms and endorsement meetings.
“Furthermore, I respectfully request that the mayor’s office instruct CCDC to discontinue any activities that constitute, or may provide the appearance of, lobbying or advocacy on this project at taxpayers’ expense,” read DeMaio’s memo?
On top of all that, DeMaio says the Oregon-based developer, Gerding Edlen, shall not be compensated for any preliminary expenses it has incurred if the City does not proceed with the project.
DeMaio ended the memo to the mayor with a call for financial transparency. “While I oppose construction of a new city hall until our financial problems and neighborhood infrastructure issues can be addressed, I continue to insist that decision-makers be provided with reliable financial modeling, so that a public policy decision based on accurate data and assumptions can be made.”