My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 6 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Performa on last legs

The Times of Trenton is reporting that another one of Trenton Mayor Douglas H. Palmer's highly-touted economic development projects could be dead as soon as late September.

The Mercer County Improvement Authority has apparently given controversial development company Performa a Sept. 25 deadline for securing financing for a proposed mixed-use development project across the street from Sovereign Bank Arena.

Performa's chief, John Elkington, and officials from the Mercer County Improvement Authority both blamed the delays in getting funding together for the project on the current fiscal climate and credit crunch, but that excuse really doesn't make too much sense.

This organization has had more than six years to get all of this money together, but company officials and especially Mr. Elkington have continually handed out excuses since a deal was first struck between the county organization and the developer in 2002.

While Mr. Elkington's claim to fame remains the successful Beale Street area in Memphis, Tenn., even that development has become embroiled in controversy and scandal, and other planned Performa developments in Birmingham, Ala., and Jackson, Miss., remain stalled.

Officials in Memphis claim Mr. Elkington and his company have swindled Memphis out of millions through a faulty development deal, among other accusations. People familiar with the company in Memphis say Mr. Elkington continually plays shell games with money and proposed development projects across the country, but has not been too successful in doing so.

Thanks, Mayor Palmer, for continually playing up the county-backed Performa project. They have really turned out to be such a great company for Trenton, in successfully holding up development of a nice tract of land for six years. Praise should also go to Mayor Palmer's wife, Christiana, who also serves on the Mercer County Improvement Authority.

You all continue to do great work in getting good projects and good developers to help Trenton out of its economic hole.


westwrdguy57 said...

This sounds like another Manex except the MCIA did not let Performa purchase the land before securing the financing for this proposed massive project was a sure thing. Still, doesn't anyone look into whom they're doing business with? These guys are not local. Developers are struggling within this economic climate where banks just do not loan out millions of dollars so readily anymore, not that it ever was that easy. Unless they have a strong, proven track record of successful ventures the money is hard to come by. Banks are not taking out gambles on anyone who's shaky in the least. In the meanwhile, valuable time is lost when we could be searching for someone else and hopes many times are squashed while the developers only delay as long as possible the inevitable.

I thought it too good to be true when I read of all that was planned for there. Seemed like a great location, although a number of small businesses have failed around that location. This project though is one that Palmer and the administration are not responsible for anything other than getting us all excited about a project that truly would have been a city renaissance of sorts. The county should have looked much deeper into Performa's history. It's not like they didn't have enough time. Instead of heading off to Africa, the mayor should have made a much shorter trip to Memphis, Jackson and these other cities so he could learn more about what this outfit was all about. The city leaders in those places would have more than happy to show him just what Performa has accomplished for them.

Sure, this town naturally got all up in arms over the scope of the project that included retail, but they put the cart before the horse again.

Old Mill Hill said...

The Prunetti, Hughes and Palmer administrations were all beguiled by the "marquee value" of having a nationally recognized name want to do business hear.

Unfortunately they were blind to the fact that Mr. Elkington and company have failed to deliver the goods more times than not.

This project should have been stopped cold when it was first proposed for the former Apex site on S. Broad (across from the County Administration building) and they started talking about taking properties in the 700 block as well.

It should also be recognized that Performa elbowed their way into buying the former Quinn's building on Cass Street when they thought they were going to develop there.

Then the project was flipped to the Foundry site at Hamilton and S. Broad...and Quinn's still sits, empty and for sale.

Goodbye and good riddance to Performa.