Things Turning Around For Elk Grove Promenade Developer?

For months the developer of the stalled Elk Grove Promenade, Chicago-based General Growth Properties (GGP), has struggled with a collapse...

For months the developer of the stalled Elk Grove Promenade, Chicago-based General Growth Properties (GGP), has struggled with a collapse in their stock price and ability to pay off billions of dollars of debt.

The struggle had also forced the nation’s second largest mall operator to fall behind on other debt. One of the debtors is the City of Elk Grove.

GGP was past due on $443,000 in development fees to the city.

Today, the City of Elk Grove announced they have received payments totaling $337,389. With receipt of this payment, GGP’s balance with the city is now $107,363.

Coincidentally, GGP’s stock has staged a rally, of sorts, in recent days. GGP has traded as high as $1.30 per share, up from a 52-week low of 24¢. GGP’s 52-week high is $44.23.

Construction of the Elk Grove Promenade abruptly stopped last summer prior to the international credit crisis. GGP has given not date of when, or if, they expect to resume construction.

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Jeff Forward said...

This opinion by Jeff Forward was published in the August Elk Grove Citizen
No comments are censored from Web site stories; they merely "cycle" off the site after a period of time.
Thanks, Jeff Forward


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Does Elk Grove have one more gold rush in it?

Published: Thursday, August 21, 2008 6:07 PM PDT
Opinion By Jeff Forward - Citizen Editor

As plans for the city of Elk Grove’s sphere of influence expansion bid move forward, things are also staying busy on another aspect of the area’s future: the El Dorado –Interstate-5 connector highway.

Tuesday night, Aug. 19, dozens of area residents, city leaders, and many candidates for upcoming local elections listened to Tom Zlotkowski – the executive director of the JPA handling the connector plans - talk about the proposed connector highway.

This highway – which could have more than 30 red light intersections - would likely run through the middle of Sheldon and down across the south area of the city and on to I-5 at the Hood Franklin exit.

The folks in Sheldon are not happy, and have proposed an alternative route for the connector through farmland to the south. Now, the farmers, ranchers, and residents of Wilton are frustrated by another foray into their cherished rural residential community.

The new concerns only compound Wilton resident’s fears of development fueled by the city’s expansion plans, which currently stop at the Cosumnes River.

But, one must brush aside momentarily all the controversy over the connector highway and Elk Grove expansion plans to see the real big picture.

It’s a familiar tune, one Elk Grove has seen before – lots of land; land ripe for development of all sorts.

It’s another gold rush.

We can all remember the last gold rush in Elk Grove. Homes were being built faster than they could sell; the housing market was at its peak; and the city coffers were filled with enough money to give officials huge raises in salaries and benefits.

Now, as we muddle through some economic hard times, city leaders have seen another gold rush in the not-so-distant future.

As plans for the city’s expansion bid and connector highway plod along, I imagine some astute planner, elected official, or city administrator has looked at the really big picture: money.

Yes, these city expansion and connector plans – if they develop as currently envisioned -would allow the city of Elk Grove to add an extremely lucrative, lesser-developed corridor of land to the city’s boundaries.

Imagine; there could possibly be 30 red light intersections on the connector – with the accompanying businesses (gas stations, fast food eateries, hotels) and mini-malls, which would undoubtedly sprout up around them.

Adding to that potential commercial development (and tax revenue) is the open land that would run southeast from Grant Line Road into the flood plains of the Cosumnes River and across vast swaths of prime agriculture and ranching land.

City leaders and planning officials say there are no plans for development in the flood plain, but local residents have heard that before.

One only needs to look back at the city’s record of eminent domain lawsuits as well as their rezoning of various parcels of land to fit the needs of what once-was America’s fastest growing city.

This is a situation that’s been played out in communities across the state and nation. City leaders want to be seen as visionaries, and for their part, those in Elk Grove have seen a vision.

That vision – based on their actions and plans for the southeast section of Sacramento County – is not one of making the city a better place to live.

No, it’s designed to max out the financial potential of the city of Elk Grove by gobbling up what is left of a respected, rural community – which, for anyone who cares, has its own sense of vibrancy and relevance and environmental uniqueness.

Of course, none of these plans are set in stone, and they may fall flat as the future unfolds. All the projects are currently facing difficulties ranging from pesky citizen activists to the all-important question of how these things will be financed.

In the end, meetings like the one Tuesday night will determine how the city’s future unfolds. The fact that it was so well attended by people of all levels in the community was promising and welcome.

If there is one thing citizens of every community can do, it is to flex their power as a unified body to foster awareness and change at the local level.

One has to be involved to do that, and anyone who has a vested interest in the future of this community – and the ones to the southeast of it – needs to stay informed and be active in the planning.

We’ve all seen the downside of rampant, unchecked growth in our community. Now, the future really is in the hands of the citizens. If citizens don’t want to see a repeat of the past, then they need to get involved.

Tuesday was a good beginning.

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