Wednesday, July 27, 2011

You can't sell it if it's not for sale...

Let me ask you, why would you waste time and energy and resources and squander advice and expertise to try to come up with ways to market and develop a piece of property that might not even be for sale?

An article that ran in the Herald News about a week ago said that Boston's Urban Land Institute would be providing free services to Fall River. The article goes on to say that Fall River Office of Economic Development officials hope to market a large tract of land off of Jefferson Street that is currently owned by the Atlantis Charter School.

The article has a sprinkling of quotes about how beautiful the land is and the possibilities for office and commercial use but it's this quote from Ken Fiola that inspired this blog post…

"If we can come up with the right development scheme, we can at least begin discussions with the charter school," Fiola said of possible re-use.

What? We're going to take all this time and assemble panels and devote who knows how many man hours and come up with ideas and plans AND THEN BEGIN DISCUSSIONS with the property owner? Are you kidding me??

In fact in the entire article there is not ONE SINGLE COMMENT OR QUOTE from anyone representing the Charter School. That is either a glaring oversight by the Herald News or a very telling revelation.

Now Atlantis Charter purchased this property to be the site of a future campus that would allow them to expand to grade 12. As far as I know that is still their plan and unless they continue to want to occupy multiple buildings and figure that it might be cheaper to buy some surplus school building to serve as a high school. If that's the case they certainly haven't shown any interest in any of the former schools and again why wouldn't there be some comment from them if they had any interest in selling the land?

Why wouldn't you use these resources for parcels of land that you KNOW are going to be sold and where we could really use some assistance in marketing them and coming up with a strategy to bring in investors? Why wouldn't you offer to work with the city council with these resources in order to market the former school buildings? Why wouldn't you possibly use these resources to come up with plans to market the Weaver's Cove site? Why wouldn't you have worked with First Bristol Corp to see if perhaps there were office and commercial opportunities for THAT Jefferson Street location? Why does Ken Fiola even have a job?

Perhaps the Atlantis Charter School has expressed interest in moving the property, if so this could be really beneficial. However if Atlantis isn't interested in selling the property than not only are we wasting valuable assistance but we have to once again question the value of the Fall River Office of Economic Development, at least under its current leadership.

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