Posts Tagged ‘TIF District’

16th September
2010
written by Downtown Dudette

Greg Shelko was the golden boy under Mike Hein and Jared Barr the prior City of Tucson management dream team. The heat started to get turned up on the trio near the end of City Manager Mike Hein’s final days.  After blowing $225 million with very little to show for their efforts beyond a $820k movie without a museum to play it in and a entire set of plans for a rainbow bridge the State Legislature moved in a new over sight board to supplant the rubber stamp board the City of Tucson was running. Since the new board has been in place we’ve seen contracts being challenged, financing plans being scrutinized and brakes being put on all over the Rio Nuevo districts.  All I can say is that it’s about time.

When the Rio Nuevo TIF district is fully analyzed my prediction is someone is going to be indicted.

Shelko says job is done at Rio Nuevo

Rob O’Dell Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star | Posted: Thursday, September 16, 2010 12:00 am | Comments

Mamta Popat quits $100-an-hour Rio Nuevo consulting job given last year.

Former Rio Nuevo Director Greg Shelko has quit the $100-an-hour Rio Nuevo consulting job he was given last year amid a sea of controversy. He gave the district notice he will end his consulting contract within the next few months.

Shelko, who actually submitted a 90-day contract-termination notice to the Rio Nuevo board two to three weeks ago, wrote that his tasks under the contract – to oversee construction of the $4.3 million new entrance to the Tucson Convention Center and the planning of a new convention center hotel – were nearly complete.

Shelko could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

The new entrance to the TCC is complete. There are only two items that need to be resolved: a column in the entrance that is off-line by inches and part of the flooring of the entrance, which the Rio Nuevo board said is unacceptable.

The planning of the convention center hotel is nearly complete as well, as Shelko helped oversee the process to get a guaranteed maximum price for the district. The hotel is designed and ready to be constructed if the Rio Nuevo board and the city can agree on some kind of financing package.

Rio Nuevo board Chairwoman Jodi Bain said she’s pleased that Shelko recognized his contract was at an end. “I’m pleased that he recognized that in 90 days there’s nothing for him to do,” she said.

As a city employee, Shelko headed Rio Nuevo during the most critical years of its existence, from 2004 through 2009, a time when the city spent $250 million in tax-increment financing money downtown with little actual development to show for it.

The Legislature seized control of Rio Nuevo last year and appointed a new board to oversee the district.

Shelko’s position was written out of the city budget, and he left the city June 30.

The Rio Nuevo board subsequently gave him a $100-an-hour, no-bid consulting contract that wasn’t publicly approved until September 2009, but was backdated to pay him starting July 1, the day after he left the city. The former Rio Nuevo board later struck the backdated payments.

Shelko was hired at the request of hotel developer Garfield Traub, who said the project was “in chaos” without him. He was hired mainly because of construction of the new $4.3 million entrance to the Tucson Convention Center, with board members contending the new entrance was urgently needed because it had to be done in time for the Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase in early 2010.

But missing pieces of the building’s foundation discovered during construction stalled completion of the new entrance until June. Mayor Bob Walkup later said the new entrance wasn’t crucial, despite an earlier full-court press for immediate approval, including the hiring of Shelko.

In other Rio Nuevo business, the board heard a proposal by Don Bourn to turn his vacant downtown lot into a 123-room Hampton Inn. The five-story hotel would feature first-floor retail and conference-room space, and would have no on-site parking.

Bourn said the total cost of the project is $15 million, but he still needs $3.5 million from another source to make the deal happen.

Rio Nuevo lawyer Bob Gugino said Rio Nuevo had spent nearly $900,000 tearing down a nearly 100-year-old building and remediating environmental issues to make way for Bourn’s development that never happened.

Contact reporter Rob O’Dell at 573-4346 or rodell@azstarnet.com

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