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  • #515175
    Snarf
    Snarf
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    Concerned said:
    Ha ha ha, I’m not Minnie, sorry. All of information I’ve offered is directly from the Internet and from the websites I’ve mentioned. I started out just asking questions when I saw the first Dispatch article and was surprised by the amount of negative comments. That’s when I started doing my own research and wondered what is really going on. My beliefs are being reinforced.

    I too get wildly defensive of things I have no admitted personal interest in. Riiiiight. *eye roll*

    #515176

    heresthecasey
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    Concerned said:
    Ha ha ha, I’m not Minnie, sorry. All of information I’ve offered is directly from the Internet and from the websites I’ve mentioned. I started out just asking questions when I saw the first Dispatch article and was surprised by the amount of negative comments. That’s when I started doing my own research and wondered what is really going on. My beliefs are being reinforced.

    Have you even tried the pizza?

    #515177

    jbcmh81
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    Concerned said:
    And Snarf, if the owner has plans to maintain and develop the property, what is your point about Hale going “soft?” What, exactly, should the judge do to the owner? Once again, what is the true agenda?

    “Plans” to maintain what should’ve been maintained all along is a pretty lame attempt to avoid responsibility for what has already occurred. What is your agenda?

    #515178

    Concerned
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    Seize it and do what? Tear it down? What does that do to the property values? Sell it to the Columbus Compact? As Beard admits on this website and on Dispatch articles, he doesn’t have the money to purchase it outright and the City of Columbus doesn’t have the money to invest millions of dollars in it to develop it.

    #515179

    JamesF
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    For far too many years, the residents of the Franklin Park Community turned a blind eye to the dilapidated structures at the corner of Oak and Kelton as we drove or walked by, and each time our thoughts were “Wouldn’t it be great if someone turned this into a showpiece before this historic landmark is lost to the wrecking ball?” Saddened, we continued along our way. In November 2011 came…the graffiti.

    The graffiti was an outright attack on our Community. Simply accepting it not only highlighted that the property was held by an owner with what could be perceived as an out-of-sight, out-of-mind attitude and higher priorities, but a Community that was not engaged in its own well-being.

    Our first step was to contact the owner directly, by letter in November 2011, to engage in a conversation and provide a frank review of major concerns with the “deplorable” conditions existing at the complex. That letter called upon the owner to consider how the situation reflected upon her, as a member of academia and a previous recipient of prestigious awards such as the “Motorola Legacy Builders Award.”

    After Ms. McGee received the letter, I had a telephone conversation with her and her focus initially was questioning why that award in particular was relevant. [Without digressing, I would think that would be obvious.] She also indicated that she had not owned the property as long as stated in the letter. I pointed out that the Franklin County Auditor recorded the sale in July 2003 [indeed over 8 years prior].

    We further discussed the graffiti, the difficulty of removing it in winter and with minimal damage to the historic brick structures, the likelihood that it would return and the need for immediate removal of new graffiti, and other concerns relating to the property. She also told me that she was in discussions and development of plans for the site. I discussed with her that it was not our concern who she chose to work with to address the concerns, or develop the property, but simply that it be accomplished.

    I suggested during this conversation that we could simply have begun a Community-wide campaign of reporting all violations to Code Enforcement, but that we felt it would be better to give her an opportunity to engage in conversations about our concerns. I invited her to come to meet with the residents at a meeting of the Trolley Barn Block Watch, she was not available to attend our monthly meetings (on the 2nd Saturday at 10am) but invited us to her office.

    The [very mild] winter came and went and in April and May 2012 we began to take a closer look at the site and call for the attention of the media. Additional health and safety violations were documented and reported on. Reports on the conditions existing at the site and our concerns were reported by both WSYX and WBNS.

    The contact made by Ashleigh Barry of WBNS with the owner included the owners emailed statement that the goal was to turn the site into “a beacon of pride for the community.” Of note, is that this report by WBNS coincided with the Asian Festival, which brought thousands of visitors into the Franklin Park Community – mere steps from the location of the complex.

    Ashleigh’s attempts to contact the owner resulted in a phone call I received from the (dismayed?) owner that it was her understanding that if there were problems, I would contact her. I reminded her that I had contacted her, in November 2011 (6 months earlier) by letter.

    In late September/early October 2012 another follow-up was done by WBNS. Just prior to the filming of the report, attempts to address some concerns were made by the owner. Those attempts included painting of wooden fencing that had been hit with graffiti earlier in the year, and placement of a wooden fence panel across one point that has been used to illegally enter the complex.

    At several points in time, proposed development plans for the complex were presented to the membership of the Franklin Park Area (now Civic) Association. However, following those presentations the Association had not adopted an official statement of position relating to the Complex. During our September 25, 2012 meeting we adopted such a statement of position. That position statement was subsequently forwarded to Mayor Coleman, all members of Council and their respective aides.

    We soon were alerted that Contempt of Court proceedings were scheduled for December 3, 2012 in Environmental Court. We began to encourage residents and other interested parties to attend the proceedings. Although a continuance of the proceedings was granted to Jan 10 by Judge Hale, members of the community were given an opportunity to address the court.

    In my comments to the court, I indicated that we are not interested in punishing Ms. McGee, but that we just want to see results. Indeed, as I recognized her to my left in the room, I indicated to the court that we have spoken in the past, and she stated that we “are on the same page.” I further introduced myself to Ms. McGee afterward.

    I, again, attended court the following day for proceedings relating specifically to the graffiti. Judge Hale granted a continuance to Feb 27 in the proceeding and upon exiting the courtroom, I spoke with Ms. McGee and her attorney and told them that I would provide information on a local contractor whom she could contact to get an estimate for removal of the graffiti. I clarified that I had no idea what the cost would be but could point to examples of prior work done by the contractor. Ms. McGee asked that I send that information to her, and I (again) did so immediately upon my return home.

    My interactions (by phone or in person) with Ms. McGee have been neither unpleasant nor confrontational.

    The EXPECTATIONS of the Community can be summarized quite simply.
    1) The community expects that all health and safety issues be rectified.
    2) The community expects that the property be maintained according to Columbus City Code.

    The HOPE of the Community would be that site would be developed, bringing economic and quality of life improvements for the residents of Franklin Park.

    #515180
    Snarf
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    I like your agenda, James!

    #515181

    Concerned
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    Snarf and heresthecasey, believe what you want…the information I’ve presented is on the Internet for anyone to see. My information comes from the Columbus Dispatch, Friends of the Franklin Park Trolley Barn website, the Columbus Compact Foundation website, and even this one. Just because someone doesn’t believe in your agenda doesn’t equate to “being Minnie.” I can have my opinion just like you can, but unlike you, I’m not going to make it personal. I’ll just stick to the information. Hopefully you can to…

    #515182
    Snarf
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    Concerned said:
    Snarf and heresthecasey, believe what you want…the information I’ve presented is on the Internet for anyone to see. My information comes from the Columbus Dispatch, Friends of the Franklin Park Trolley Barn website, the Columbus Compact Foundation website, and even this one. Just because someone doesn’t believe in your agenda doesn’t equate to “being Minnie.” I can have my opinion just like you can, but unlike you, I’m not going to make it personal. I’ll just stick to the information. Hopefully you can to…

    What personal interest do you have as it pertains to the Trolley Barn?

    Are you a neighborhood resident like I am?

    #515183

    heresthecasey
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    Oak-Kelton Trolley Complex joined Facebook Sunday, January 6, 2013 at 9:20 am.

    Less than 15 minutes later,

    Concerned said:
    Here is a link to the Facebook page with information directly from the property owner about the plans for the Trolley Complex:

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Oak-Kelton-Trolley-Complex/216616348475362

    #515184

    Concerned
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    Jon, are you saying that you didn’t call Minnie a “hoarder,” “greedy,” and a “bad owner” on this website? Are you saying you weren’t one of the people that contacted the prosecutor about reopening the case against Minnie and you just happened to find out about the case? You had no direct involvement with the reopening of the case?

    #515185

    heresthecasey
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    jbcmh81 said:
    “Plans” to maintain what should’ve been maintained all along is a pretty lame attempt to avoid responsibility for what has already occurred.

    Exactly.

    #515186

    NDaEast
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    Concerned said:
    Jon, are you saying that you didn’t call Minnie a “hoarder,” “greedy,” and a “bad owner” on this website? Are you saying you weren’t one of the people that contacted the prosecutor about reopening the case against Minnie and you just happened to find out about the case? You had no direct involvement with the reopening of the case?

    @Concerned … I absolutely said Ms. McGee was “more like a hoarder”: having spent too much time watching Hoarders on TV, I think that’s a pretty apt description of someone who accumulates stuff they don’t need, can’t use, and it becomes both a hazard and a personal detriment.

    I absolutely said Ms. McGee was “just plain greedy:” when a person is asking more than twice the value of a deteriorating property with demolition orders, I think “greedy” is a pretty apt description.

    And finally, I said “great property, bad owner”: most people agree it is a great property, and when you won’t take care of what you own (her code orders go back to 2005, which order called for a structural assessment of all the buildings which she never did, and the building has since experienced multiple collapses which is now the subject of one of the current court cases) I’m comfortable calling you a “bad owner.”

    Although it makes a good story and I would like to be able to claim credit, I had absolutely nothing to do with the prosecutor re-opening the case because Ms. McGee had not complied with those court orders 8 years prior. However,I certainly had raised the collapse issues with the Building Department when Townhouse Properties next door called me — thinking I had some role in ownership — angry about the wall that was collapsing six feet from the rear door of their property, and I also raised the issue with the Building Department about how it was continuing to allow this unsafe building to spew slate tiles onto the public sidewalk. I wanted accountability from the Owner and the Building Department on the continued deterioration of the property. And the Building Department told me that there was nothing they could do.

    And … I didn’t even know there was a case that could be re-opened. Matter of fact, I was sitting in a meeting at the City with two other residents of Franklin Park when we were told there were court dates coming and the city was requesting the Judge’s permission to enter onto the propoerty for the purpose of demolishing the buildings, and then putting the charges on the owner’s tax bill.

    Sooo ….. that’s the scoop. If this greedy, bad owner, who is more like a hoarder had done what she was ordered to do in 2005, this wouldn’t be an issue. It is very curious that you choose to deflect blame away from the person who never complied with building orders from 2005! Is it rude of me to ask what your angle is?

    – Jon

    #515187

    franklinbc
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    As a resident who of FP for many years I’ve watched the Trolly Barn steadily decline over the years. While several comments on this website are a bit too passionate and making it personal it is easy to understand why. Many who live in FP and Olde Towne are passionate about revitalizing the neighborhood and active in the community. Seeing a property with such potential sit is frustrating, but that can be said about several parts of our neighborhood. The real issue is watching it become a hazard and danger to our community. The community is speaking up and asking the owner to be responsible for the property. Items like a fence would be a fantastic start. The FB page recently created by the owner has an image of a section of fence with a “temporary fix” that they understand “isn’t pretty.” The same board has been a “temporary fix” for many months, this temporary fix is just re-attaching it to the chain link fence and leaving the property still open and exposed. Like parts of the roof, this board often blows off the property and lands in our streets and on our properties. She can have a ugly fence, but it needs to be a fence. And we shouldn’t have to go to court to define for her what a fence should be.

    The owner is welcome to develop or not develop the site as she pleases, however as a neighbor I do expect her keep the property up to code. My agenda is simply to have the property be safe. In the past 4 years I not seen one thing done to this site to maintain it and that is why I am asking the owner to stop saying she will get to it or it will be a temporary fix, but to actually correct issues and share with the community a plan. I am hopefully that can happen, this is an amazing community and if the owner is willing to work with the community I think she would find she would be heavily supported. But ignoring us won’t make us go away. She isn’t the victim. The community doesn’t have an agenda to take her land. As her neighbor I am demanding she make her property safe. She has been asked by our community for years and she has ingored the request and the issues. What you see in the thread is many of my neighbors frustated and sadden by an owner who won’t take responsiblity.

    #515188

    NDaEast
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    Concerned said:
    And Snarf, if the owner has plans to maintain and develop the property, what is your point about Hale going “soft?” What, exactly, should the judge do to the owner? Once again, what is the true agenda?

    @Concerned … through its complaint, the City of Columbus has asked Judge Hale for permission to enter the property, demolish the structures, and assess the demolition costs against the tax duplicate for the property. I would love to be a part of avoiding that outcome.

    What does that do to the value? The property is valued at about $190K, with the land value about $90K and the buildings about $100K. If the buildings are demolished, the land value will be $90K, AND there will be a tax assessment of about $200K (estimate of the demolition charges). Thus, if McGee was to sell it at value ($90K) after demo, she would have to come up with another $110K at closing to pay the tax bill. Or more likely … she would run delinquent on the $200K assessment, and the City would take the property through a tax foreclosure, put it in the Land Bank, and try to find a developer (and she would get nothing). But at that point, the historic buildings would be in a landfill somewhere, and the historic fabric would be lost forever.

    So — upon learning of the City’s intent to demolish, we offered to buy the property from McGee for its appraised value, AND invest another $50-75K IMMEDIATELY to stabilize and bring the buildings to code. But because we are not STUPID, we did not opt to take all the risk and let her walk away while putting all her problems on our shoulders.

    Instead, we RESPONSIBLY proposed owner financing of acquisition — something McGee had been open to in the past — so we had plenty of cash left to do what needed to be done on a purely speculative basis (with no assurance of any future source of income). And when I say “speculative” I don’t mean that I foresee any profits for anybody in the redevelopment, in fact, I see a financing gap of about $4M in a $10M project.

    So Boyce Safford, Development Director for the City, said the City doesn’t have any money: duh … that’s what he is supposed to say. But is that true? — I am willing to take a business risk that says we would be able to fill that financing gap and there would be some substantial city participation to help close that gap. The city had $3.4M to bail out the Whitney Estates, $4.5M to bail out the arena this year (with more projected for the next 27 years), spent $15M instead of the original projected $8M on the Lincoln Theater … the City can find money when it wants, and I just believe if a solid project was put together the City would be happy to dig through the seat cushions for some change and find creative ways to help — that is what they do as a matter of routine for major projects across the city.

    So, per our offer, what would happen if we didn’t put together a deal? McGee, as financier, would get her property back after having made $45K in interest instead of losing $80K in holding costs, and the property would have been improved and value stabilized to the point where it was secure for someone else to take a shot at it, AND, the Compact would be out over $230K for our efforts (assuming 5 years).

    Real Estate 101: no bank will lend on that property, in that condition (no occupancy permit and demo orders in place for over two years). To borrow money, you have to show a future income stream capable of paying the debt. Typically, developers get “site control” which sets the aquisition terms while they shop for tenants who can pay rent that will pay for financing. You can’t have a serious conversation about a tenant leasing a property you don’t control.

    Several years back, we had “site control,” which means we paid McGee (I believe it was) $3,000 to have the exclusive right to buy the property if we wanted. The market collapsed in 2007, and because we are NOT STUPID, we did not exercise our right to buy the property and McGee kept the $3,000 and the property as per the terms of that option agreement. All’s fair, everybody did what they said.

    Since then, McGee has not agreed to any terms for site control that would allow us to move forward putting together a real deal, which then would allow us to either finance the purchase of the property or pay cash outright as our equity investment into a project. Thus, by not allowing us to have site control, McGee effectively foreclosed on the option of us obtaining project financing which would allow us to pay cash at closing (again, because we are not stupid). I would note that our site control offer even had a provision where if she found a buyer at a higher price, she could sell to that buyer as long as we had the right to match the offer. That was a lot of risk for us to propose, and seems like it has nothing but wins for McGee.

    What we were prepared to do, is take all her annual operating losses onto our shoulders ($16K per year in taxes, storm water, maintenance … plus WE would insure it for another several thousand), invest immediately $50-75K to preserve the buildings and thus maintain the site’s value, pay her annual interest on the owner financing, and pay her cash outright when we pulled together a deal. Our proposal took $16K in annual expenses from her (which she has been racking up for the past several years) and paid her about $9K in interest, for a cash turnaround to her each year of about $25K.

    So … over a five year period, she would be up $218K, and we would be down $385K if we were to buy the property. That, to me, is a win for her, when the alternative of city demolition leaves her in the hole $111K.

    McGee has lost money when she speculatively purchased this complex. That’s not our fault, and its not our responsibility to bail her out. What I can do is offer terms that make sense, and she can accept them, or not.

    She has chosen not to accept them, and is apparently going to demo some of the buildings in pursuit of a plan that makes absolutely no sense. (Her occupancy permit was pulled, so now she has to comply with current codes for any permitted rehab, and the first thing that will happen is the current sheet runoff of storm water into the city storm system will have to be fixed, and she will have to handle the stormwater on site through engineered retention/detention system, which is an easy $250,000 for that site — something that the proposed rental of the 1,200 s.f. office building that has a badly leaking roof and the furnace and water pipes were stolen out of would certainly not cover. Good luck on the nickle and dime approach)

    I’ll go home and sleep tonight without having the burden of the deteriorating trolley barn on my head, though I believe our community will be the poorer for that fact.

    Maybe she has a rabbit in her hat … maybe Pixie dust … someone else mentioned unicorns and money trees … I hope so — we’ll find out.

    – Jon

    #515189

    Concerned
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    Jon: You’re the greedy, hoarding, bad owner of the trolley barn and I want to work with you.

    Minnie: Of course.

    Yeah, right. Jon, did you call her those names to her face along with your offer?

    Somewhere within the drama lies the truth.

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