City needs to get tough
By Jody Reese
News comes again that the hotel developers, the Roedel brothers, may be backing off the hotel at the yet-to-be-built Fisher Cats baseball stadium along the Merrimack River.
What a surprise.
This is the third or fourth time the Roedels have threatened to take their ball home if the city or state doesnít do exactly what they want.
So what is it this time? Apparently, the cost of removing contaminated soil may be too expensive.
They have got to be kidding.
They beat the city up over the price of the land to get it down to $275,000, only slightly more than the cost of a building lot in the North End, because they said it was contaminated. Now they are threatening to pull the plug because the state wants them to do some more testing, and clean it up if itís contaminated. Of course the soil is contaminated. The land sits on an industrial garbage heap. That was the deal. Thatís why they got such a good price.
But thatís exactly how the Roedels have been through this whole development, always threatening to withdraw, always casting a dark cloud over the development. If condominium developer Eric Chinburg can make it work and these guys canít, I wonderójust what kind of developers are they anyway?
It was the Roedels who forced the city to trade away Bedford Street to Auto City. Now that second route to the baseball field and condo development is closed. It will make it hard for people to get to the stadium and make the condos less valuable. But city government felt it had no choice. The Roedels were going to pull the plug, if they didnít get that street closed.
Well the city should have told them to put up or shut up. Go ahead and walk away. Iím sure other developers would buy that land for $275,000.
Itís clear that the city and the state need to get tough. Yes, we all want another hotel downtown. That would make it easier to have large conferences and attract trade shows for the Verizon Wireless Arena. But maybe the Roedels are the wrong guys to do it. Perhaps we need some local developers, such as the Singers, who built the Tage Inn without any problems or government subsidies.
Whatever happens, the state and city should stop being bullied by the Roedels and tell them itís time to build a hotel or move aside so someone else can do it.
We have had enough of their bullying, and enough of their delays.
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