Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Shoreline Committee votes to give extension to Burwell

The Shoreline Committee voted unanimously Monday to grant an extension to Harborwalk developer John Burwell on the requirement he "take down" a parcel at Main Harbour. However,the committee only granted him a thirty-day extension. The committee stated it would grant him the extension requested if he cleaned up the trash that has accumulated at the front of the development. The committee's action still has to be approved by the board of the Pearl River Valley Water Supply District. No media was present.

Mr. Burwell and none of his representatives appeared at the meeting. Mr. Burwell sent a letter to the committee stating

"As you are aware, the financial markets have not yet opened for projects like Phase I of Harborwalk and we do not have access to funding for Phase I at this time. We continue to explore when and where the market will settle and what prospects exist for financing in the future."

Section e of the invitation for Harborwalk proposals by the district states"

"Commencing with the sixth lease year, at least 20% of the property included in this proposal which remains unleased as of the last day of the fifth lease year must be leased each year in order for the lessee to continue its right to lease the remaining property."

This will be the third consecutive year the district will have granted an extension on the take down requirement to Mr. Burwell. Mr. Burwell will pay an extension fee of $65,000. Several committee members justified their votes by stating Mr. Burwell was paying the district $600,000 a year and there were no other developers seeking to take over the project. The discussion lasted all of eight minutes before the board went into executive session to discuss proposals by Mr. Burwell to lease certain parcels to other parties. The committee returned to vote to grant the extension.

Earlier post with copies of leases

Editorial from a year ago:

The Reservoir should be the crown jewel of the Jackson metro area. John Burwell came along more than eight years ago with grandiose plans to develop Main Harbor. Five-star hotels. Condos. Restaurants. Water taxis. A true Ridgeland or Redneck Riviera, depending on your point of view. Keep in mind this was back in 2003, before any credit crunch. The problem was his plans called for financing of nine figures. Yup, $100 million, $200 million, $500 million depending on which news story you were reading. Mr. Burwell would say he had financing and then it would never materialize. He told the media once they were going to start construction on Harborwalk as he had finally obtained financing only to admit later in the story the loan had not actually closed.

Mr. Burwell is not broke nor is he out of money. However, it is my opinion he does not have the money to get this project off of the ground nor will he be able to obtain the financing needed to bring his plans to reality. I don't think Mr. Burwell is a scam artist. What I do think is Mr. Burwell is a developer who is in over his head and unable to develop Main Harbor. This may be news to Mr. Burwell, but I am allowed to have an opinion and stating an opinion is not spreading "misinformation".

The District is in a pickle. The board members don't want strip malls but they don't like the status quo either. Mr. Burwell has not missed a payment and does have a cash flow generated by slip rentals. Mr. Burwell and several committee members stated there were no other proposals from other developers to "do anything" with Main Harbor. Now that is where the rub is.

Commercial developers just don't show up to bid on a project. A developer would spend at least fifty to one hundred thousand dollars for a study on developing Main Harbor. There is no way a developer is going to spend that kind of money when the District does not make it aware they will consider other proposals. Thus the board is in a catch-22: it needs Burwell's cash flow but also wants the property properly developed. The District should take a long look at making it known it will consider other proposals at least several months before the extension expires so interested developers will have time to offer alternate proposals. Perhaps David Watkins could work out a deal where Jackson annexes the Reservoir and the Legislature gives him some super-duper retroactive to 1800 tax credits that would allow him to develop Main Harbor and lease it back to Jackson. Better yet, the state can eminent domain the property and build Ed Morgan's Taj Mahal right there in Main Harbor. Revenooers on the Reservoir. Has a nice ring to it. Heck, if state money is involved, Joe Waggoner and Carl Ray Furr will study the site to death as they generate invoice after invoice. I just knew the Reservoir was an untapped gold mine.

All kidding aside, it might be time for the District to open things back up to other developers so it can find a way out of this impasse. This project has literally been dead in the water for eight years. While Mr. Burwell has built new docks and wants to develop Main Harbor, it is time to ask what indeed is best for the Reservoir area and what can be done to get the development of Main Harbor back on track. It doesn't matter who develops Main Harbor but instead that it is indeed developed.

Uh-oh, Bumblin' Burwell is back
Harborwalk: Hoax or folly?
Harborwalk Update September 2010
Is there a Harborwalk?
Harborwalk: Here we go again.
Today is the day


Shadowfax said...

One member said it all when he commented that (paraphrasing), "At least Burwell is paying us something and ain't nobody else wants to rent the damned place." What gracious public stewards we have overseeing this public gem.

Anonymous said...

Hinds County has entertained us citizens in Rankin and Madison for years with the Jackson city counsel and its county board of supervisors stupidity. Now we have the Rez board and this Burwell situation to entertain them. Its time to take some action! I implore KF to post a section everyday naming all the members of the board and asking for these idiots resignations and for the AG office to investigate potential corruption! A phone call and letter writing campaign should be started! These board members are either incompetent or corrupt! Its time to disband the board and start over. Please KF post some contact info for the Gov. and AG office and for the Rez board so we citizens can get proactive!

golden eagle said...

There will be a casino in Jackson before this thing is ever built.

Anonymous said...

@ 9:18 As long as he's paying his rent...this is a good thing. He will never build his project because only fools would invest in it. Meanwhile, he's paying a ton of money every year. That's good!!!
Sooner or later the Madison Co. District Attorney will have to indict the guy for fraud and investors will lose whatever they put into the scheme, but so what???
Let it be.

Anonymous said...

thank goodness the legislature finely saw the wisdom in requiring the board to be made up of citizens who actually live on the Rez - that new law goes in effect this year i think, and will hopefully create a positive change. we will see

Unknown said...

From what I understand he is paying a ton more than Dewitt did with the Dock so you can bet they are going to keep re-upping him every year till somehting better comes along.

Kingfish said...

The problem is no developer will look at it unless the leases are opened back up.

Anonymous said...

@ 12:06 That's a good thing. The last thing we need is development there. Traffic is bad enough as it is.

@ Kingfish The next time you drive by that corner of the Rez...try to picture what kind of development you want. There has been huge residential development in Rankin and Madison counties since The Dock and the night clubs were down there. It's not 1983 anymore.

My guess is the people who have invested in the project will want to recover their money by trying to construct a huge apartment complex. The Rez board better no let that happen.

Anonymous said...

OK - Let's try this again - There won't be any DA because there are no "investors" - I have 1 partner who has been a friend for 35 years - He and I have put 25 million dollars into this project and still believe in it - to all the know it all's - get these developers who want to do something large or small to call me - My door is always open - In the mean time I will pay taxes, mow grass and keep my harbor clean - Developer

Shadowfax said...

3:57; can't you at least put a damned sno-cone machine or a cricket stand out there and open it up for pole fishing. There's something to be said for heritage and heritage is old men, cane poles and crickets. If you invest in an asshole who pushes old men around and bullies anybody who slows down while riding by, then you're a damned fool.

Anonymous said...

@ 3:57 Do you and your partner honestly believe anyone would want to stay in a hotel there?



Rapids on the Reservoir is closed.

Anonymous said...

"The committee stated it would grant him the extension requested if he cleaned up the trash that has accumulated at the front of the development."

Were they talking about him or the Hotel Valencia sign that recently disappeared?

Anonymous said...

PRVWSD wants to make the area into a developed "destination"...

1. They close the Dock.
2. They allow Rapids on the Reservoir to be re-zoned residential.
3. They attempt to impose fees on public events.

Their reasons for an extension are $, not making it into a destination. They must protect their little kingdom.

I believe the area would be best served as a municipal marina (Ridgeland or PRVWSD), with a multi-purpose land area surrounding. (Parks, pavilions, etc.) PRVWSD would get their $$ they need so bad and the public gets something in exchange.

Anonymous said...

@ 9:05 Traffic is so congested along the spillway that adding residential construction where Rapid was located is not wise.
Trying to cross two lanes of traffic to make a west (left) turn out of there would be insane during the morning rush hour and difficult during normal driving.

Anonymous said...

Hello 10:59: I checked with the traffic division in Rankin and learned that they still sell and install traffic control devices (red lights) on that side of the Rez.

meople said...

Hey 3:57 I came you said "SON you couldn't afford any land out here" so I spent my CASH elsewhere. Try again you elite bastard. Don't judge someone's pockets by there looks or age ass hole.

Anonymous said...

3:57 - Really?!? You spent $25,000,000 out there already?

I'm glad you're not handling my retirement accounts.....

Anonymous said...

@ 3:42 We don't need more red lights on Spillway Road. Just plant trees.

Anonymous said...

Have said it before (see thereznews) multiple times... it is not in the makeup of the PRVSWD to make this fool go away nor to have this area be suited for its highest and best use. Why? Because all they want is to have the lease revenue, regardless of what is on the leased land. No matter the place, no matter the pipe dream scheme.

Anonymous said...

@ 9:58 Nothing wrong with that.
Nothing is needed there.
Just continue collecting the rent.

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Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

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