Friday, June 20, 2008

Stuck at Broad and Hamilton with the Memphis blues again

Elkington/Performa sued over Beale Street money; two years behind in Jackson MS

Summer is here and things have been quiet over at the “Foundry” site opposite the Sovereign Bank Arena.

There is no residential/entertainment development to attract that hip, partying crowd of young folks with expendable incomes.

There is not even a construction trailer on the site. The old American Wire Rope plant Building 4 still sits alone, a brick island in a sea of asphalt.

Where is the highly anticipated Performa development that was going to turn that corner of Trenton into the region’s premier entertainment complex?


And why is that?

Ask Mr. Elkington or one of his partners and they would undoubtedly tell us that it has to do with the economy and the mortgage crisis. And they are not unreasonable excuses.

The thinking here on the stoop is a little different. Based upon Mr. Elkington and Company’s track record in Jackson, Mississippi (read the Clarion Ledger’s article from last week), we think they are spread too thin and can’t get any financing to move any of their projects forward.

Of course, Mr. Elkington thinks it is the Mayor of Jackson's fault for all the negative comments that have been made about Performa's lack of performance!

Couple with that, the fact that the Beale Street Development Corporation went to court earlier this week to sue Elkington for $10,000,000 and you have the makings of the collapse of the Performa house of cards.

Performa has managed Memphis' Beale Street district since 1982, but somehow the Development Corporation and ultimately, the city of Memphis, have not seen one penny in revenues. Elkington has been trying to get copy-cat developments off the ground in cities like Jackson, Trenton and most recently Birmingham, Alabama. More and more questions about Elkington's ability to bring any of these projects to fruition are being asked.

It has been six years that the Mercer County Improvement Authority (MCIA), with the approval of the City of Trenton, has been dancing with this project. It is time to put it to rest.

Some say it is the only thing out there; Elkington is the only one to come forward with a plan, so we must continue on. The location is too valuable to let sit fallow.

We say it was an ill-conceived, faulty plan from the start that has only gotten worse as time goes on. It is obvious that Mr. Elkington is in no position to proceed with this (and may not be for quite some time). He should be relieved of his claims on the property immediately so that, when the economy does turn, we can find a developer with a common sense, workable and self-funded plan for the parcel.

We have said it before and we will say it again, Trenton does not need and obviously cannot support this kind of concentration of chain and franchise bars, clubs and restaurants. Even if it was built and opened tomorrow, can you imagine trying to keep the patrons under control at peak times with the limited police resources the city currently has. This entertainment complex is doomed fail.

Let’s grow up and get over our frat boy dreams of living in New Orleans North and seek out more rationale and fitting developments for our capital city.

Let’s bid adieu to Mr. Elkington and company. Now.

1 comment:

Capital 3 said...

why aren't we revitalizing the Roebling complex for use as the transit village instead of buldozing the historic homes along the station walk? The complex can easily be converted to many units- plus it has it's own River Line station.