The Pendleton Heights subdivision project was on shaky ground from the start. Even though city management was well aware that Mr. Jivanjee was on shaky ground when it came to obtaining adequate financing to complete the project as planned, officials were so desperate to fulfill a need for additional affordable housing at any cost that they overlooked the obvious.
Waivers requested and granted by city management to building code lot size, setback requirements and street widths adversely impacting available parking, and construction designs that lack central heat and air conditioning with no inexpensive natural gas availability, have all but assured a future Sergeant City. This entire endeavor is a prime example of how not to manage a real estate development project.
Subsequent changes to the original agreements and approved by the city council have put these same officials in the unique position of now having to buy back property that they once gave away. Council members now have a chance to make amends and expect to prevail by sending Mr. Jivanjee on his merry way, a decision long overdue.
But wait, there’s more. Before the city council made their decision to sever their ties with Mr. Jivanjee, councilors heard glowing testimony by Councilor Chuck Wood on the new contractor that will assume control of the project, and that cemented their decision, with results expected in another 2½ years. Sound familiar? It’s suspiciously similar to the city manager’s glowing reports to the council on Mr. Jivanjee that produced an agreement putting the city in the precarious position it’s been in for the last several years, and produced neither the affordable nor well-built housing the city desperately needed.
Let’s hope this latest decision leads to a successful conclusion of the project. A real game changer, claims the mayor. Well that’s been part of the problem from the very beginning. To them it’s just been a game, and we’ve been subject to these games for far too long.
I would have to question the assertion that the city (really us taxpayers) has lost just $6,000 over this whole deal. After all, time is money, and with all the delays and the several renegotiations of terms, the amount in property taxes that were never assessed because the project was never completed far exceeds that $6,000.