Full Court “Press” Downtown

In my younger days, I played a lot of AAU basketball. I still remember a 13-and-under opponent from Raleigh called the “Beatty Bunch” that ran a wicked 1-3-1 press, the entire game. They were good at it. They got a lot of steals and easy buckets, and it wore you out.

When you’re facing a 1-3-1, the most important thing is not to panic. You have ten seconds to get the ball over half-court, and while this doesn’t seem like much, it’s plenty of time if you know what you’re doing. Patience under pressure beats the 1-3-1 every time.

There’s another type of “press” going on right now. The News and Observer is running articles about Fayetteville’s business partners and their conflict of interest problem.

In short, what happened in Fayetteville was wrong, and the UNC Development Finance Initiative where Jordan Jones and Mike Lamanski worked is putting in new measures to ensure the “wrong” doesn’t happen again.

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In response, Prince Charles Holdings is showing back up in Fayetteville’s Press to put a positive spin on their project:

It’s important that these guys show “continued work,” because they are behind schedule. The “facade” of the parking deck is supposed to be done in ten days according to the contract.

We’ll see if that happens. In the meantime, we continue to have a parking space problem.

Conflicting Documents

If you’ve read this blog, you realize that I’ve been following this deal for a year and a half. As an attorney, I know that it doesn’t mean anything unless it’s written on paper, so I started with a public records request for the City’s contract with Prince Charles Holdings. That contract has now been amended five times and the details have gotten “cloudier” over time.

As a reminder, the parking deck is supposed to have 492 spaces. Here’s how the various plans and contracts have allocated these spaces:

3rd Amendment

The 3rd Amendment to the Downtown Development Agreement (from 2017) provided a very specific allocation of spaces:

  • 120 Hotel
  • 155 mixed used building
  • 90 Prince Charles Apartments
  • 127 to City (remainder)

Mohn Memo

Several months ago, Councilman Ted Mohn circulated his interpretation of the plan, which would only leave 32 spaces for city residents:

It was this allocation that gave me the most concern. 32 spaces for the public in a publicly-funded parking deck is absurd on its face. Here’s my radio rant about it on Good Morning Fayetteville:

5th Amendment

In June, when Prince Charles Holdings came back and asked for 1+ Million more tax dollars for “our” deck, they changed the contract again.

The new, 5th Amendment to the Downtown Development Agreement leaves out the Prince Charles Apartments and the Hotel and gives more spaces to the City:

Math Problem

It’s cloudy now. That’s the short of it.

As you can see, you can’t “mesh” the allocations from each contract because you run out of spaces:

250 (offices) + 120 (hotel) + 90 (Apartments) + 167 (City) = 627 spaces

The deck only has 492 spaces, remember?

City Leaders Won’t Provide Clarity

I’ve asked multiple city council members, the mayor, city managers, and the city attorney for the true allocation of parking spaces in the new deck. I’ve pointed out the inconsistencies in the contracts. No one will provide me with a straight answer.

I made formal public records request for any city document providing the “plan” for the deck. Apparently, there is no plan:

I’m stuck. It’s “wait and see” at this point. Maybe that’s where they want it?

Wrap Up: Pessimism or Optimism

In the last analysis, there’s a few ways to look at what’s going on. I’ll let you decide:

Optimism: There is a chance that the plans have changed, for the positive. Public pressure has forced City leaders and PCH to change the contract to give the public more spaces, or at least “share” them at certain times.

Pessimism: The plan has not changed or has gotten worse for the public, and PCH and City Leaders have intentionally made the contractual documents “cloudy.” They don’t want you to know the real deal because they know it’s not good for the public, or public opinion.

If you care about this issue at all, I’d encourage you to email your council member or the mayor and ask them for the “plan” for the public deck.

Put the 1-3-1 press on them!

Maybe you’ll have more luck than me.

3 responses

  1. Excellent piece of writing , Matt. This is where the Fourth Estate really fails Fayetteville. The daily newspaper will not follow up on the story and, because our community is without a local TV station, Fayetteville can be classified as a “news desert”. I guarantee all the questions you have raised about the parking deck would be answered by now had the radio interview you had with Goldy been a local a TV interview. Jus sayin!

    Liked by 1 person

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