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REPLAY: Ron Clark, Residents Debate Pillsbury Commons Project

Residents slam Ron Clark Construction reps with questions.

Possibly one of the most controversial Richfield redevelopment projects in many years, the is garnering a lot of attention.

Richfield Patch hosted a live discussion with members of the Richfield Commoners United, a neighborhood group in opposition of the development, and members of Ron Clark Construction and Design's development team Tuesday. The chat proved to be qute explosive with viewers commenting both for and against the project.

To see the chat in its entirety, click the replay button above.

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Richfield Commoners United March 20, 2012 at 04:59 PM
Well, this should be interesting as Ron Clark intentions are well know to the residents of Richfield
Collin Kaas March 20, 2012 at 10:37 PM
Affordable housing developments like this do not aim to create affordability through cheap or shoddy construction. The Tax Credit program, administered by Minnesota Housing Finance Agency (MHFA), brings more money to the construction of these projects, and requires a high level of quality. In fact, the construction quality will exceed that of most post-war homes built in Richfield. As examples, MHFA requires cabinets to have dovetailed drawers and solid wood doors, high efficiency HVAC, and Energy Star appliances. They also discourage cheap vinyl siding. The buildings must be professionally managed and maintained. This level of quality should be embraced within Richfield, no matter the income of the residents. I’m tired of people ragging on quality housing projects when many of my neighbors have vinyl siding falling off their homes and can barely maintain their yards. We should focus on supporting real, viable, and noticeable improvements to the eye-sores in our neighborhoods. Pillsbury Commons is a real, viable, and noticeable improvement that will show how affordable housing can be done well in Richfield. I object to deficient and poorly maintained housing. We have plenty of those properties already. Pillsbury Commons will be none of those things. Our attention would be better spent helping owners of (poorly) maintained or dilapidated properties rather than railroading those making real investments in Richfield. Collin Kaas 6718 4th Avenue S.
Tom Pfister March 20, 2012 at 11:15 PM
Collin, That's funny, Ron Clarks own Casteel Place four blocks down from the proposed Pillsbury Commons has incurred 2 millions dollars worth of repairs that the owners have to pay because of Ron Clarks shoddy workmanship. Why after only 10 years does a project need 2 million dollars worth of repair? He is being sued for $900,000 because of it. Where is HIS QUALITY!! He claims it is not his problem. 10 years and they need 2 million dollars worth of repair?? You want him to build this "behemoth" of a project in our small nice little quite neighborhood? Sorry, 80/20 two story low density is what will work in our neighborhood. I don't like the Bait and Switch. Tom Pfister 7544 Wentworth Ave So
Collin Kaas March 20, 2012 at 11:50 PM
Tom- I don't think that Casteel Place was overseen or financed through MHFA. If I'm not mistaken it was a condo deal, which tend to be overly litigious.
Caitlin Burgess (Editor) March 21, 2012 at 02:22 AM
Thank you to all who tuned in and participated in the chat. This was quite a debate, with lots of opinions and hopefully you found something beneficial.
John March 21, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Very interesting chat. So they are only paying $415,000 for that property? How did they get it at that price?
ann delaney March 21, 2012 at 05:22 PM
My computer is not set up to recieve video or live chats. Therefore, I can't tune in as to what went on at the debate. However, I respect the peoples's concern as I am sure this has been researched as to it's value to the community. And I too question the quality of this other project done by the same company that required 2 million dollars repair after 10 years. Doesn't sound like quality to me. In the same token, I am concerned as to the development of Lyndale Gardens by a group who built a big development in Kingston ,South by 494, then filed bankruptcy. They are coming into this belly up and we are giving them another poject to maybe do the same to it.? These development projects are not being looked as for needs or wants by a community, but with $$ signs for future taxes and revenues which may or may not happen, but who cares. Certainly, not the city council or those who have the power to allow this. Even tho I don't live there, I am opposed to the project. It does not have the appeal like a sound investment for the future.
Caitlin Burgess (Editor) March 21, 2012 at 06:43 PM
According to Ron Clark, they are paying the market value for the property. While I don't claim to be a real estate expert, I do know that what the county and city value a property at in terms of property taxes versus what an actual appraisal of the land (and everything on it) can be quite different. For example, a house may be worth $135,000 on one's property tax statement, however an appraiser could come in look at the house and come back with a much lower or higher number depending on the condition of the property. As for the Lyndale Garden Center development, you aren't the only one concerned about the potential funding issues. This has been brought up by council. And from talking with the owner and developer of Kensington Park, the crash of the economy did the development in. It was worth around (or more than) $10 million, now it's worth roughly $4 million. When something major like that happens, they can't expect to get the same level of rents and thus, find themselves in a predicament. I'm sure there may be other factors as well, but I wouldn't assume that the people or the company of itself are careless.
Richfield Commoners United March 23, 2012 at 03:47 PM
Well, The builder was the same, so the logic that MNHFA did not over sea is kinda flawed. The Condos were built and sold for on Average $225 thousand each. The Pillsbury Commons is being built for about $179 each. So materials did not go down in the last 10 years. So please explain why 10 years ago, Ron Clark built the Casteel Town homes for $225 each and today he is proposing $179? each, where do the materials match up in value? Please walk up to Casteel Place and ask the residents about the shoddy workmanship. And then ask what will happen to Pillsbury Place 10 years from now.
Richfield Commoners United March 25, 2012 at 10:59 AM
Caitlin, The appraised value of land from the county was 2.9 million, but the land was appraised at $520 thousand. So Ron Clark was sold at $415 thousand, a big discount. Now with that being Ron Clark was asking for over $500 thousand for TIF. So the city should just say, Hey will just give you the land but start out of the box and paying taxes on the $700 thousand you will profit each year. And pay fair market rate taxes like every other household.
John March 28, 2012 at 02:03 PM
"And pay fair market rate taxes like every other household." Works for me.
Richfield Commoners United May 29, 2012 at 06:00 PM
So lets drag the city residents around and around, Thank you for being the developer you are. My be the city of Richfield will name a gift shop after you like they did in EDINA. for " AN excellent way to win hearts and minds developer" here in Richfield...oh yea we dont have a Art Gift shop but if you have your way we will have the very first SECTION 42 Shelter..Please visit http://ci.edina.mn.us/content/facilities/art_center/facilities/clark_gift_shop/index.htm

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