Does the city want to hide the Basilica?

Many people have raised questions about the city’s plan to sell properties adjacent to the Civic Center, the Basilica St. Lawrence and the Grove Arcade to the McKibbon hotel chain. My questions about the proposal fall into three areas:
1. Why the rush? The city only obtained one “qualified” bid on the property. Why not reopen the bidding?
2. Who says a hotel is the best use for the property? The city hired a Florida-based real estate appraisal company which primarily works in very large cities, and their recommendation was for a hotel on the site. Yet our hotels are running at less than 50 percent capacity already. Do current hoteliers really need the competition? Is one more hotel the best we can offer our downtown businesses and residents? Will a new hotel have its own restaurants and shops to compete with existing downtown venues?
3. Are we best served by selling all of those parcels as one lot? To my knowledge there was no effort to sell the parcels separately or in other combinations—the city decided to follow the Florida plan. Perhaps there are more creative ways to enhance our downtown, including a set-aside for some park space. In other cities, residences and businesses adjacent to parks have a higher value.

Please help put pressure on City Council to reconsider this misguided plan.

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