I am one of the building owners asked to be responsible for the proposed LID (Local Improvement District) improvements in the Wenatchee Downtown core. The LID will provide funds to enhance the appearance of the downtown. The improvements include planter boxes, additional benches, bike racks, improved lighting and removing and replacing trees as needed.
The future of your downtown, how it will look, etc. is in the hands of a very few people. Yet, it is the downtown for all who live in Wenatchee and call it their home, so I thought I would share with you what it will cost me as a building owner to participate in this project.
The building I own and my business occupies has 75 feet of frontage. Most of downtown has a 25 feet of frontage for each lot. In my case, the building occupies three lots. The maximum LID assessment I have heard of for each building owner is $210 per linear foot, or $15,750 for my building. I could opt to pay this amount in full. If I wanted to finance this debt, I am going to project a 20-year repayment at 5 percent. This is probably on the high side, but it is hard to firm up financing this many months in advance of the project. This means I will be charged about $104 per month, or $1,248 per year for the next 20 years.
Many of the downtown businesses operate in a 25-foot space they rent or lease. This means their landlord will face an annualized payment of $420, or $35 a month, or $1.15 per day.
Some may think they can’t get $35 more a month from their tenant when it is time to negotiate the rent for the next term. I would ask, if the downtown loses its retail appeal and shoppers begin to go elsewhere, perhaps you will be happy to get a tenant at whatever rent they are willing to pay.
So the question the property owners face is: Does the building I own in downtown Wenatchee deserve an additional investment of $1.15 per day for me for the next 20 years for each 25 feet of frontage that I own?
The question for the citizens of Wenatchee is: Do you think your downtown need a refresh or are you happy with the way things currently are and look and are content to have them stay that way for the next 20 years? Another item to consider is it has been more than 20 years since Streetscape. The LID for Streetscape was more than what is currently proposed. These projects only become feasible when other road work is being done and in 2014 the downtown will have The Avenue undergoing major repairs. That cost for the highway upgrade is not being paid for by the property owners. It is safe to assume it will be 15 to 20 years before an opportunity to upgrade downtown on the scale that is currently being proposed will be available.
Lastly a question for the city: Does the city have the commitment to maintain the improvements that the LID will provide?
Within the next few weeks a decision will have to be made. Approximately 40 people will have a vote and their vote will be factored by the amount of linear frontage their building has. Thousands of residents will be impacted by their decision. If you have an opinion please express it to the property and business owners of your Wenatchee downtown. It may be my vote but it is your downtown.
David Rodstol is the owner of David Rodstol Inc., Wenatchee.