Saturday, December 08, 2007

Disappointed groans and grumbles over waterfront UN-development justified

There’s an interesting tidbit in the Oshkosh Northwestern’s online edition today about the stalled “The Waterfront” development not being unique to Oshkosh. Reporter Jeff Bollier then pointed out examples of other proposed developments elsewhere in the state that are having difficulties getting off the ground. He also said he is stopping short of “the disappointed groans and grumbles because construction still has not started.” I appreciate his patience and refusal to complain, and I think many of us are still hopeful this project will not only come to fruition, but will bear fruit and be plentiful, so to speak.

That being said, however, I think he may not understand why the disappointed groans and grumbles are being expressed. From my own perspective, and that of at least a dozen or more others I’ve spoken to in recent weeks, the disappointment comes from more than just the fact that the developers haven’t yet broken ground. It comes mainly from the Common Council being told by Tim Rikkers of Akcess Acquisition Group that his group had tenants for the office building who were ready to sign on the dotted line as soon as the council voted “yes” on the project. That was done, and yet, these “eager” tenants have managed to continue being elusive. We were also told plenty of research and feasibility studies, of sorts, had been done on this project. If research proved this was a worthy project, why the continual delays with finding tenants? Or perhaps more to the point, if there were tenants ready to sign pending council approval, why did they suddenly get cold feet once that approval was given?

I see Jeff Bollier will have more in Sunday’s edition – in both online and print versions. Amongst the “little extra content” he promises to give us for future discussions, I hope Jeff’s piece will detail whether developers with stalled projects in the other communities he referenced actually told the city leaders they had tenants ready to go as ours were. It may make a difference between grumbling and disappointment, or the lack thereof.


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