No more developer for Kelo neighborhood

kelo-pink-house-new-london.gifOn Thursday, New London’s The Day reported that New London’s preferred developer for the Fort Trumbull project, Corcoran Jennison, failed to secure the financing necessary to fund the project. The failure violates an agreement the developer reached with the city back in December.

The very next day, New London officials told the paper’s editorial board: “It’s over.” That is, the city would be taking away “preferred developer” status from Corcoran Jennison and shop for a new developer. However, it’s not just this developer that is having the financial difficulties:

But Sternlof said the NLDC’s own consultant believes that it may be two to three years before any developer could realize a profit by bringing housing to Fort Trumbull.

”There is a funding problem with this project for whoever does it,” Sternlof said. “Their internal rate of return is so low that no reasonable person would do it.”

Any future development proposals for the peninsula may need the blessing of the City Council and the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission, and Joplin and Sternlof said the city and the state will be included in the conversation as to what happens next.

City officials also worry about potential litigation from the developer, as the company has invested about $1 million in the project already.

In response to the news, The Day ran a fairly vapid editorial headlined “Highs and Lows.” Take a look–the lows are rather low and there’s nary a high to be found. The editorial advises New London officials not to be “shortsighted” or “negligent” in evaluating the current situation.

Unfortunately, “shortsighted” could easily describe the city’s approach to the Fort Trumbull development so far: seeing only the homes of Susette Kelo and her neighbors in the way of “progress” and neglecting to look beyond that to anticipate the dynamics of the economy and the market.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in New London plans are afoot to commemorate Kelo Day, June 23rd. More on that later this week.