From Ukiah Daily Journal (5/27/09)
May 29, 2009 Ukiah, Mendocino County, North California
Don’t be deceived
To the Editor:
Recently I was in Chico and happened by a sad strip mall called Chico Crossings. There was a now defunct Circuit City, a Food Maxx and a number of empty buildings. I have no doubt this property is owned by the same company who is attempting to get the Masonite Property rezoned. It seems obvious to me that the rezoning is a ploy to raise the property value on the real estate prior to unloading the property.
I have no doubt that we will one day soon have a Costco, most likely in the same area they have spoken of putting it in near Friendman’s. The whole ploy of talking about a Crossings Mall reminds me of an incident which happened to my poor sister-in-law when she sold her home. The buyer kept begging her to lower the price because the buyer wanted to move in with her family and loved the home so much. My soft-hearted sister conceded, only to watch the buyer raise the price and put it back on the market when escrow closed.
With malls going out of business all over the U.S. and this company having lost substantial money on their stock value, it seems only logical that their aim is one of gaining the most money possible on the sale of the property by rezoning. Don’t be fooled by their rosy talk of Mendocino Crossings.
Unfortunately, there has been a great deal of deception, I have spoken to several people who actually signed the petition unaware that it was for the Mendocino Crossings.
M J Wilson
DDR, good money after bad
To the Editor:
Developers’ Diversified Realty “has fallen into financial distress as it continues to refuse to widen the state highway (New Hampshire Route 1) that town officials say would assure the projects approval.”
So reported the Daily News of Newburyport, N.H., on April 6 of a DDR-financed mall project in its area (“Developer in Financial Turmoil”).
It said the publicly traded company, hit hard by the recession, is suffering from rising debt and a cash shortage. “Its stock value once at a high of $72.33 per share in February 2007,” said the News, “Opened on the stock exchange late last week at $2.39 per share.”
It is now trading at around $4.50. De-listed from the S&P 500 Index as a result, many program traders linked to the index have had to unload it.
On may 11, the Buffalo New York News reported that DDR and Australia’s largest investment bank, Macquire Group, Ltd., put 52 shopping malls in 20 states on the market for “immediate sale” at $1.9 billion.
Why would a company in “financial turmoil” and shedding existing centers at fire-sale prices (average: $36.5 million) even think about building a new one?
The answer is it wouldn’t.
County Supervisor John McCowen said in Monday’s Daily Journal that DDR’s 300-page initiative makes its plans “conceptual and subject to change.”
The developers, he says, “have essentially written themselves a blank check.”
The truth seems to be that DDR desperately needs that blank check. Even it it is throwing good money after bad.