I suggest that the city hire an independent qualified developer as a consultant to review the proposal and to help citizens and water front development commissioners ask the important questions we may not know to ask, as well as substantiate that the city is receiving a fair market value for the land.
The whole process needs to slow down so we can make sure the appropriate questions are being asked. GEG Development and Meacham & Apel Architects have too much invested to turn and run while the city works through this. They would have to start all over with another community and that would certainly be an enormous setback to them and require another huge time and large financial investment on their part.
Why hasn't the developer provided street elevation drawings? These would show what the project would look like from the ground level. These drawings could show the public and officials what they would see driving down Meigs Street looking towards Cedar Point. They would show the heights of the buildings and their relationship with one another, as well as what would be left of the view of the waterfront.
I find it hard to believe that if the developer's assumptions about the first phase don't pan out financially, the developer will move forward with the other phases. What will the waterfront look like if just one or two phases are completed? What happens to the vacant property? Perhaps the commission should approve one phase of the project at a time. Sandusky already has unsold condos and shops that don't have enough year-round business. We certainly don't need a half-finished project or buildings sitting empty on most valuable property we have. How much would the condos sell for? Why would they sell in a slow economy and a down turn in housing market? If a large percentage would be purchased by out-of-towners, what would support the restaurants and shops in the off season? How many and what type of jobs would be created once the project is completed? What would they pay? What is the business plan for the arena? Is there a marketing study to support their assumptions about its viability?
What would draw people to stay in a Sandusky hotel in the off season when there are so many hotels that include entertainment amenities already vying for that customer's business and there are plans to build more.
Is the financing in place and aren't all of these the same questions investors might be asking?
Mark R. Norman