Letters to the Editor
December 11, 2012 11:06PM
Updated: January 13, 2013 6:13AM
Intro to strategies for
In case you are a downtown developer new to town, here are five of the main strategy tips:
Here’s an illustration of the first concept. If you want to smoke in a restaurant (in a state where they allow such) tell them that you want to smoke in the non-smoking section. It’s much nicer to smoke in a place that hasn’t been smelled up by other smokers, even though it ruins it. Downtown Naperville has many qualities ... like you can usually get a parking space, it hasn’t been jammed and canyonized, traffic is tolerable. Just like smoking in the non-smoking section, if you can get away with sticking in a monstrosity development that capitalizes on those amenities which it ruins, you will make a lot of money.
You can get some city personnel to play the shell game regarding parking. When a developer wants to put something huge in without providing enough parking, they’ll say “that’s OK, we have extra parking for that.” Then, shortly afterwards, (when there’s no development at stake) they’ll say that we’re short on parking and need to build another garage at taxpayer expense. Repeat and rinse ad infinitum.
The next one, stated whimsically is: If you hire the right law firm you could get a nuclear waste dump approved for downtown Naperville.
Napervillians keep saying “we want downtown Naperville to be like Naperville” and some people at the city keep thinking that they heard “we want downtown Naperville to be like Chicago.” So, for public comment situations, bring in people from Chicago to say things like they don’t live in Naperville because it isn’t like Chicago.
The next one they fall for almost every time. If you want to build a monstrosity / get a deal that is triple what is legal and reasonable, ask for something that is five times what is legal and reasonable. Go for the outrageous. In a town that busts shopkeepers for too many square inches on signs, tell them you want to put a huge lit billboard 80 feet above downtown which will dominate the downtown skyline. Regarding those streets that you are going to jam up, have the chutzpah to ask them to make those streets even narrower by transferring some of that public street property to you so that you can make your development even bigger and bulkier. Ask them to declare a part of our downtown “blighted” so that you can use TIF provisions for blighted areas to transfer your tax burden to others. And ask for other subsidies. Ask them to let you put in far, far too little parking. And overall ask for about five times the legal/reasonable limit regarding bulk, density, size and canyonization. Then, slowly offer concessions back to triple what is legal and reasonable, and you can get that approved as a “compromise.”