According to Fundara.com fifty percent of small businesses survive less than five years. Hats off to folks who try. This shop on Ellis Boulevard did not last very long. The store name may have predicted the outcome.
Perhaps the most misunderstood document in the legal world is the humble quitclaim deed - referred to by many as "quick claim" deeds. Here's a quick tutorial to avoid embarrassment the next time you attend a real estate closing.
Let's start with the most potent deed -- the General Warranty Deed. These are what you find in most real estate transactions. The grantor (seller) warrants good title going all the way back to 1820 or whenever the land came out of the government's hands with a "patent." That warranty is not as scary as it might sound due to title insurance and multiple past transactions involving that parcel where title was scrutinized and blessed.
A Quitclaim Deed is at the opposite end of the spectrum. It warrants nothing. As the law professors say, "I'll give you a Quitclaim Deed to the Grand Canyon." That's because the grantor makes no guarantees whatsoever. So . . . . why have these deeds at all? Actually, quitclaim deeds play a vital role in the real estate world. They're used to confirm that the grantor has no further interest in the parcel. For example, a bank can release a mortgage with a Quitclaim Deed. In a divorce, when one spouse is awarded the home, the other spouse may be required to relinquish his or her interest in the home - typically with a Quitclaim Deed. I can release an easement or cancel a recorded sale contract with a Quitclaim Deed. I'm just saying "Whatever interest I have, if any, is yours, but I make no guarantees that I have any interest at all."
Now if you really want to impress your real estate agent or someone at a cocktail party, casually mention a Special Warranty Deed. These deeds only warrant that the grantor (seller) did not do anything to mess up the title while he was the owner. The grantor is not on the hook for any title defects arising prior to his ownership. Big companies like to convey with Special Warranty Deeds so the potential liability for old unknown defects are not carried on their books forever.
We do lots of real estate at CVDL. Call if we can help with your next purchase or sale.
Faced with challenges of succeeding at traditional economic development (aka bringing manufacturing to town) some leaders have pivoted to retail expansion is an acceptable Plan B. They should pause.
For decades we have rejected requests for abatements and subsidies for retail because in a finite market, a new retailer simply takes away market share from other retailers who have done business and paid taxes without a government handout.
There are nuances. We've done TTDs (Transportation Development Districts) for Kohl's and the East End Walmart because the sales taxes paid for critical infrastructure. Note how Sam's is now coming not based on incentives but because the guys in Bentonville did their homework and think they can make money without a handout.
"Economic Development" in our town has become such an overused term that it lacks much meaning. We should not water down the old phrase more to embrace a new Olive Garden -- although I like their salads.
We have to look no farther than the Strategic Plan created by the Chamber with help from TIP Strategies and lots of community input. It's been ignored because of the failure of the Transformation sales tax. The tax failed but the analysis is still right on. The question now is now to proceed.
And retail is not a valid substitute for real job growth.
Jefferson City does not come to the conference center issue blind. We spent lots of taxpayer dollars to learn about this complicated idea. We should keep in mind several important principals and not start all over as if we have not learned anything.
Experts have confirmed several basic principals that we all know instinctively.
We have one thing that no other cities in Missouri has: a Capitol and all the energy and politicking that goes with it. All objective data shows that our target guests are the hundreds of state wide associations and public employee groups that now cannot meet in Jefferson City because we have no facility big enough to accomodate them. Any successful conference center must access this base. The graduations, boat shows and music concerts will fill in the rest of the schedule.
In addition, we know that any site that must shuttle guests to the Capitol, the Truman Building, the Supreme Court and other vibrant state hot spots will not succeed, and it will not leverage our only advantage over competing convention cities in the state.
Furthermore, any site that does not have ancillary hotel rooms within walking distance will not be competitive. In order for a conference center to be successul it must have convention quality hotel rooms attached, or within a very short distance from the center. Tell a meeting planner that most of their guests will have to go back and forth from the main hotel by shuttle, and the planner is going to look elsewhere.
Finally, we all know that when we go to a conference and spend eight hours in meetings and seminars we want to get out and do something in the city where we've landed. These evening activies unusualy center around dining, adult beverages and entertainment. Guests do not want to drive or take a shuttle back and forth to these venues. They want to walk.
City leaders should understand that one way for the Jefferson City project to fall on its face is to locate it where meeting planners are told that important state offices, hotel rooms and other amenities will be available only by . . .
. . . . shuttle.
The city council should not just look at the econmics of putting a box on a lot and declaring victory. The council should look at a site that will leverage our advantage as the Capital City, and a site that will accomplish multiple planning objectives over time.
Any proposal that depends on shuttles should be rejected outright.
In 1967 the Jefferson City School Board purchased land in a residential subdivision on the East Side to build a new grade school. Old East School at that time was the city's second most populous elementary school. The ratio of students per square foot at East was double that of other schools in the district.
Five years later a school board dominated by members with 65109 (west end) zip codes decided that maybe they really didn't need a school there after all. Superintendent Joe Nichols, Jr. said in the News Tribune article that "It's not that the district won't build. It's just a matter of time."
Eventually the board sold the land to the highest bidder and moved their sights westward toward to preserve and enhance their own neighborhoods.
With this one decision the growth patterns of Jefferson City were, perhaps irrevocably, established. The decison was not based on a re-evaluation of East School demographics. The reasons were policital and self-serving.
It was interesting that within days following the announcement that Pioneer Ridge grade school would be constructed in a field on the West Side (across from a mobile home park and a 60 year old motel), ads appeared for the new subdivisions that were being constructed adjacent to the school, subdivisions that would host $300K houses. Think how the growth patterns of Jefferson City would have been different if the school board had not decided in 1972 where they wanted growth to occur.
It's time that the Jefferson City School Board acknowledge the dominant role they play in our community's urban planning and stop pretending that school location is just an issue related to a very narrow definition of "education."
Fast forward again.
January 16, 2011 news Tribune headline: "Board to Consider Land Purchase." The site would be for a gradeschool. Where? On the East Side, a quarter mile away from where the school should have been built in 1972. But East School is not receiving much more attention in 2012 than it did forty years ago. It is presently the only gradeschool in the district that uses trailers for classrooms due to overcrowding. The question is whether history will repeat itself and whether the purchase of this land is just for eventual resale. When Joe Nichols said "It's just a matter of time," how many decades was he thinking about?
Thomas Jefferson said that "the price of democracy is vigilence." I think tt's time for a little more vigilence in our community about how location of public amenities dictate our future.
Now that I have offended a few people in City and County governments with prior posts on this subject, let's see who else might be involved -- in the shadows. Here is the question:
In the past, what overall urban planning analysis has been a part of decisions about where to locate major public facilities?
Answer: NOT MUCH.
Public entities live in "silos," concerned only about the immediate needs of the entity itself, or the segments of the population they serve. Little thought, and no real analysis, is undertaken to study how the location of a major public facility will affect long term growth and possibly contribute to sprawl.
Having been a little snarly in past posts about sprawl, let me point out a story with a happy ending - a decision that will have long term benefits for the community.
A success story:
Several year ago there were "forces" who pushed very hard to locate the Cole County Jail & Law Enforcement Center in the suburbs -- somewhere out on Route B to be precise. Cole County Presiding Commissioner Marc Ellinger and I (and others) joined forces to keep this major facility close to downtown. Did the city have to donate land and give up parking? Yes. Were construction costs increased due to terrain? Yes. But the long term interests of the community were served by locating this facility (which is architecturally very nice) in the central business district.
Marc Ellinger knew, and the lesson from this story is, that public officials should think of urban planning when large facilities are being considered. I used to argue with a former school superintendent when he'd say that "schools should be built where the growth is occurring." Without much success I tried to point out that growth occurs where schools are located.
This is just not about history. We will soon be faced with two major planning issues:
1. A new high school.
Continuing the school theme, the present board is considering the location of a new high school. There are ongoing discussions about whether to repurpose the exising campus or purchase hundreds of acres in the suburbs.
Let one thing be clear. In making this decision, the School Board is not just building a school. They are directing how, and where, growth will occur in our community for the next century. If their decision is based purely on how nice a new facility in the suburbs will look and feel, they should be replaced at the next election. They have a responsibility to adddress urban planning in their decision, something their predecessors have ignored. (My next post on the subject will provide some historial details.) They have a responsiblity to ignore real estate investors and developers who are salivating to build sprawl subdivisions outside the city.
2. A recreational facility.
Second, we need multipurpose gym space in our Parks system. Everyone knows it, and there are funds available to at least start the process. The Parks Commission should think about more than their own silo. They should think about how this $8 to 10 million asset paid by taxpayers will enhance the future of the community as a whole. Will Parks, like the YMCA, succumb to the lure of suburbia and mall neighborhoods, or will they think about long term growth and sprawl issues?
Public officials and non-profit boards will not think outside their silos until taxpayers and contributors demand it.
3. Let's Start Now.
Aircraft carriers and policy makers take a long time to change direction. Let's start by demanding that the location of all public facilities serve the long term planning goals of the community instead of short term expediency and glitz.