Friday, September 28, 2007

Plaster, Jetton, Evergreen, Springfield Link?

It's Friday night, about 9:30 and I have been working at the rent house all day today, putting in a new sink, washing floors, cleaning the bathroom, washing windows, putting up curtains. I am tired.

BUT--all day long something was nagging at me. We all know from the SN-L about the Plaster, Jetton DD highway manipulations. The name of Plaster's group, Evergreen, rang a bell with me, but I didn't know what the connection was or where I got the idea there even was a connection. Read about it here, and read about it here adn read about it here

I think I found it: from the Springfield Business Journal:

HCW Evergreen pulls out of Springfield hotel competition

By Matt Wagner of the Springfield Business Journal reported:

One of four firms negotiating with the city in hopes of gaining the exclusive right to build a four-star hotel and corporate office building in downtown Springfield has formally withdrawn its proposal, and another has been silent for weeks.

Rick Huffman, CEO of HCW Evergreen LLC, sent a letter dated Sept. 14 to City Manager Bob Cumley that outlined the Branson firm’s decision to withdraw from the field of developers interested in building on 1.7 acres between the Springfield Expo Center and Jordan Valley Car Park.

In the letter, Huffman stated that the decision to withdraw was based on two factors: BKD LLP accounting firm’s decision to relocate to the southwest corner of St. Louis Street and John Q. Hammons Parkway, and the restrictive conditions of John Q. Hammons’ long-term lease with the city to operate the expo center.

Rick Huffman stated several weeks ago that he wouldn't be pursing the project. The skyrise in Branson is another project that he won't be trying to build either.
He's been working on the Tulsa Landing and expanding a project in Phoenix.

The SN-L has a story about Hammons being the last man standing: read it here.

I googled Huffman, Plaster, Evergreen and Hammons and came up with this from November, 2004. And then this:
SIFE Board of DirectorsEvergreen Investments LLC. Mr. Stephen R. Plaster. President. Evergreen Investments, LLC ... Mr. Rick Huffman. President. HCW, LLC. Mr. Wayne Callahan ... - 165k - Cached - Similar pages

Both Huffman and Plaster gave money to Roy Blunt.

It just seems all interconnected to me, maybe Plaster is jealous of Hammons, maybe they are competitors, sure seems that way. Anyhow, we all pick up the pieces and end up getting the wurst of the deal.

The SN-L has another article about the last man standing, with 14 comments. One comment, by Old Hillbilly, references the Springfield Business Journal article again:
Apparently the NewsLeader doesn't want to quote from Huffman's letter to the city that explains his decision because it might embarrass John Q., which the NewsLeader recently proclaimed to be Springfield's Icon of Giving, as well as the dunderheads at City Hall.

Turns out NOBODY in their right mind, other than John Q, would build on that site because the city granted John Q the food and beverage sale rights to whatever goes there as part of the deal to build the expo center nextdoor. So this whole "bidding" process has been a sham. Once the other bidders read the fine print, they saw there was no way that anyone other than John Q could make a deal work.
Events related to development of the former arena site:

2002: City of Springfield and John Q. Hammons agree a multipurpose arena will be built on the 1.7-acre lot. There is no contractual obligation.

Spring 2006: Hammons offers $25 million to Missouri State University to build its own arena after failing to secure a committed tenant.

That kills the arena plan at Jordan Valley Park, prompting the city to seek alternative development proposals.

February: The city receives four proposals. Only Rick Huffman proposes a high-rise, luxury hotel. BKD and Hammons, the accounting firm's current landlord, want to build an office complex for BKD.

March: A city advisory board eliminates Hammons from the competition, saying his plan was similar to that proposed by BKD. Hammons responded by announcing a plan for a new hotel across St. Louis Street, but has since abandoned that plan.

April: The TIF Commission agrees to reissue a request for proposals.

May: Four new proposals are received, all featuring headquarters for BKD. Three also would add high-rise luxury hotel rooms to the site.

July: On a split vote, the TIF Commission forwards all four proposals to the city staff for further negotiation.

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