Cactus Needles - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Cactus Needles

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Posted: Sunday, May 24, 2009 2:43 pm | Updated: 2:37 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Short takes from the Tribune Editorial Board

Chandler officials are wistful when they expect a new developer to rush in and replace the failed Elevation Chandler project while the city tries to squeeze out every dime in lost expenses.

As Tribune writer Ari Cohn reported last week, the six-story building skeleton near the Chandler Fashion Center is about to head into a bankruptcy auction. The unfinished hotel-condo project went belly up in 2006 after former developer Richard Cline lost his construction financing.

Cline’s investors and lenders likely will lose millions of dollars after the property sells in this economic climate. Yet astoundingly, Chandler expects to recover all of the $11,000 in uncollected development fees from a new owner, just because it’s a municipal government.

A new developer will have different plans for the site. Whether that will require modifications to the existing concrete slabs and steel rebar, or tearing down and starting over, the next owner likely will pay far more in city fees than what’s already owed.

If Chandler accepts its loses like any other creditor and wipes the slate clean, that could be a tiny incentive for the next owner to move faster to replace an eyesore with a viable project that benefits the community.

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Gilbert Mayor-elect John Lewis campaigned on the idea that he wants to refocus his community’s economic development efforts to tap a sizeable pool of local executive talent while targeting industries of the future.

Lewis will come into office with one major example already on the table to demonstrate what Gilbert can accomplish.

Earlier this month, Gilbert landed a new cancer treatment and research clinic sponsored by the nationally prestigious M.D. Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas. How significant is this? Well, only two weeks after the M.D. Anderson announcement, it was disclosed the 10-year-old City of Hope-Banner Bone Marrow Transplant Program will transfer from Phoenix as well when the new clinic opens in 2011.

Tribune writer David Woodfill reported that Gilbert business leaders expect this collaboration to attract even more health care institutions and professionals; exactly what Lewis has been talking about.

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