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The Right Thing vs. Resident Taxes

GenhIn what was probably my favorite class in my quest for my MBA, our professor would pit members of his class against each other in search of the truth amidst an ethical dilemma. The results were often fascinating, opening our eyes to truths we had never considered. 

An interesting conundrum is facing my city of Madison. The genesis of a project in our downtown core that was initially designed to provide a second HQ hotel for our convention center has de-evolved into a hodge-podge of special interests that includes office space, retail and residential (and, not surprisingly, not nearly the required rooms needed for the Center). And, it's the residential component that is now gumming up the works.

To make the project financially feasible, a developer has proposed a number of residential units with spectacular views of the lakes and the Capitol, from which the resulting revenue will make the financial package work. The City has requested the developer make a number of the units "affordable." The developer agreed...and set aside some of the lower floors for these units, floors from which they couldn't command top dollar for the somewhat diminished view.

Ahhh, but not so fast. That's not fair, according to the City...which is pushing for "affordable" units throughout the structure so that socio-economic unequals can co-mingle as equals. Noble, to be sure. But, according to the developer, the numbers don't work.

So...here's the dilemma. Should City taxpayers be on the hook to subsidize these units to make the developer whole in the name of social equality?

Thoughts?

Image: Gebhart Development

Bill Geist

Bill GeistBill Geist

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