First Step for the Edgewater
November 10, 2009 10:21 AM
It's a pretty straightforward vote. If the City Council votes this week to take tax incremental financing support for the Edgewater Hotel out of the budget, it's pretty much over. Almost 1,000 jobs, over $1 million in new taxes, much better public access to Lake Mendota. All gone.
On the other hand, if the Council votes to keep that TIF support in the budget, the project lives to fight another day. Approvals will still be needed for zoning, design, landmarks and more. Even the exact TIF agreement will need to come back to the Council. Nothing's guaranteed.
So, for those alders who aren't sure if they want to support the Edgewater or not, the vote on an amendment to take the Edgewater TIF set aside out of the budget doesn't have to be definitive. Voting against the amendment only means that the project lives on to work through other needed approvals.
But if the Council votes to remove the set aside, the developer has made it clear that all bets are off. It will be read, probably correctly, as an early indication of lack of Council support for the project. It's likely that he and his investors will pull out rather than invest even more into the rest of the lengthy approval process.
It's only the first inning of a nine-inning ballgame. Let's not end the game before it really gets started.