Monday, March 2, 2009

Ft. Worth's Council District 8 Sierra Vista Housing Project

Three years ago, the taxpayers provided $3.2 Million dollars for the 232 unit Sierra Vista housing project at Berry & Riverside Drive in Council District 8. Ralph McCloud, City Council Rep for District 8 started the project. The current Councilmember Kathleen Hicks, served as McCloud's aide until June 2005 before she became the elected Rep for the District.

Of the 232 lots, only 80 houses have been built as of today. That's a mere 34% of sales in three years! The fields are empty around the fenced housing project and the project has not "spurred" ANY Economic Development around the area. Mayor Pro Tem Kathleen Hicks says, "Sierra Vista is coming along just fine." I disagree. I believe those $3.2 Million dollars could have remained in the people's pockets and never collected by the Government.

It's always interesting to me when Developers say, "Well, I grew up in Ft. Worth and I want to 'give back' to the community." "Give Back?" One would be "giving back" if they were investing their own money for a project and taking the risks as they will the "profits," as most of us business owners do. One is not giving back when the taxpayers are paying for the risks. That's what I call "taking", not.... "giving back."

In looking at the facts, Michael Mallick, (Vertex Investments) put in $3+ Million for the project; however, he turned around and sold all but 31 of the lots to History Maker Homes. So, in reality, he served as the middle man in the exchange of monies.

Below are some quotes regarding the project from years past:

"Vertex’s planned community, named Sierra Vista, will include the construction of 232 single-family homes, two outdoor strip-mall centers and a large grocery story. " (Hasn't happened.)

"“We are committed to ensuring an abundance of new economic opportunities such as new businesses, grocery stores and more commercial development in the area,” said Kathleen Hicks (Oh really? Where are the new businesses, grocery stores and more commercial development?)

"the project, which will serve as a neighborhood revitalization project." (Where is the revitalization?)

"Of all the urban revitalization projects under way in our city, one of the most astounding transformations will be the Sierra Vista project and the complementary activities at the intersection of Berry and Rosedale streets." (Complementary activities? Where are they?)

"It is anticipated that this project in conjunction with the adjoining Sierra Vista project will result in one of the most successful Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) districts in the country. " (Really?! How much money has the TIF gained because of these projects?)

Hicks "points to the two Mallick Group developments on the map. The Sierra Vista development will provide about 230 new single-family homes on the site of the old Riverside Village apartment complex, plus retail sites nearby. Hicks helped broker a deal earlier this year that created a tax increment financing district to include both Mallick Group properties. As tax income to the city increases because of the development, the extra dollars will pay for infrastructure improvements — perhaps one of the few instances when Fort Worth has used the TIF device in the kind of blighted area it was intended for. " (Really Mayor Pro Tem Kathleen Hicks --where are the extra dollars? We are still waiting!)

Briscoe, "The city gave Michael Mallick $4 million. Cash. They gave him money for demolition. We had demolition too. It cost us $300,000 to make our site useful." (So, what exactly cost Mallick $3+ Million?)


TarrantLibertyGuy said...

WOW WOW WOW!!! THIS was a VERY educational, interesting and enlightening post!

It literally made me a little more and more upset with every well researched and documented sentence. Then I remembered that we have a very viable candidate who WILL stop this exact type of disgraceful, 'business as usual' activities - SUZETTE WATKINS! Then, I felt better. You must win.

Suzette Watkins said...

TarrantLiberty - Thank you for your comments. I hope people will check out my youtube video that really compliments this post. You can find it here, look for the "Crime" video:

(Political Advertisement authorized by Suzette Watkins)

The Whited Sepulchre said...

3.2 million for that ????
That's the most expensive stone sign I've seen....

Suzette Watkins said...

Yeah - That little stone piece at one of the entrances? Quite expensive stone indeed!
Thank you for reading and commenting!
We definitely need CHANGE in leadership on City Council!