Blanche Saga Continues: $14,000,000 financing remains unexplained
Wendell Johnson's Blanche Project: Where's the Beef?
Posted February 21, 2015 11:28 am | 1 comment
LAKE CITY, FL – City Manager Wendell Johnson and others have claimed that the future of downtown Lake City rests with the renovation of the Blanche Hotel, a City landmark that had fallen on hard times years ago. It was ignored by the City and City management, including City Manager Johnson until the Observer exposed that it had turned into a death trap.
The City Manager Has Been Making an Effort
For the last four years City Manager Johnson has been making an effort to find someone to renovate the Blanche. His efforts were unsuccessful until IDP came up with its proposal, which while it includes many pretty graphics, is lacking on the specifics of financing.
New construction cost for a three story commercial 79,600 sq. ft. office building is estimated at $5,509,326. The cost per sq. ft. is $69.21
IDP has given an estimate of $14,000,000 to renovate the Blanche's 79,600 sq. ft., which is $175.88 per sq. ft.
Construction estimating link is here.
The City has circulated to its insiders two pieces of literature.
The Observer asked to be put on the Blanche circulation list, was told it was added. It never received the following information.
The Blanche Master Plan Bullet Presentation, "The Hotel Blanche, A Key Downtown Catalyst Project": Disregarding the editorial comments and sales pitcheyness, the one page piece presents useful information.
IDP's "Hotel Blanche Package": As expected, the presentation contains cool, well done graphics. Financial information is pregnantly lacking.
There have been no discussions regarding the source of retail tenants.
The lack of a supermarket in walking distance and the non-existence of any kind of public transportation inhibits downtown residential occupancy.
According to City Manager Johnson, as of December 16, 2014, the Blanche was "a little over $100,000" in arrears of its taxes.
Monday night, at 5:30 pm in City Hall, the Blanche saga continues. The developers will be on-hand.