Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Trib: Mt. Lebanon developer may avoid repaying tax-aided loan

Developers who hoped to build luxury condominiums in Mt. Lebanon are short nearly $2 million for repaying tax-backed loans and could stick Pennsylvania taxpayers with the bill, officials say.

Downtown-based Zamagias Properties planned the $42.8 million Washington Park project for the corner of Washington and Bower Hill roads and Mt. Lebanon municipal and school district officials agreed in 2007 to a tax increment financing plan, or TIF, that allowed Zamagias to borrow money to buy the land and plan for construction. Part of the money from property taxes on the condos would go into a fund to repay the loans.

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Anonymous Bill Lewis said...

This ill conceived *endeavor* has been flawed from the get-go since its initiation in early 2005 ! The Parking Authority, Municipality, School District, County and Commonwealth all made egregious errors and decisions about this boondoggle at almost every step of the painfully extended process. And a detailed record of all this has been preserved.

The only elected or appointed public official who questioned an important aspect of this project in an attempt to provide some degree of protection to the community and taxpayers was School Board member Dan Remely, whose publicly stated concern and recommendations were subsequently disregarded "in order to move forward in a timely fashion". Sound familiar in todays world ?

Because of this blatant error, and the fact that we have provided Zamagias six (6) lengthy extentions of time *to fish or cut bait*, we have the prospect of the TIF loan default to deal with, and no project after 17 years of two (2) TIF-related development project failures.

The current Commission has invited Zamagias representatives to a Commission discussion session in October, perhaps the 22nd., to review matters. Please plan on attending and expressing your opinions during Citizens Comments at the regular meeting following.

Bill Lewis

September 21, 2012 10:48 AM  

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