Monday, October 21, 2013

Word of the day: Disconnect

John Goodman of Goodman Real Estate


Here's a key passage in a story by Peggy Sturdivant that came out in the 10/16 issue of the Ballard News Tribune about a homeowner who was apparently duped by a developer who's doing something far different than he promised with the property he purchased from her:
The fact that Douglas had to read about what was happening to her former home in the newspaper and that Lockhaven residents learned about renovations and rent increases through eviction notices highlights a disconnect between the residents, the developers and the City of Seattle government.

Bingo! Disconnect is the word. When John Goodman of Goodman Real Estate decided to purchase the Lockhaven, it seems that he didn't do much to discover what he'd acquired. Not a collection of buildings, not a certain number of square feet to be leveraged for maximum profit, but a community of human beings. Human beings uniquely invested in the property and each other.

We know that John Goodman has a record of philanthropy and civic involvement. Just ask the Ballard Boys and Girls Club, which he has generously supported. John Goodman is also a Ballardite through and through. He graduated from Ballard High and lives right down the street from us. We are therefore confident that he will see that the value of the Lockhaven is not only in its walls and windows, but in its unique community. And that he'll also see how the Lockhaven is part of a larger fabric of life in Ballard, a neighborhood founded on the thriftiness and caring of its working-class Nordic roots.

We are confident that a real Ballardite would never want to destroy a beautiful part of what gives the neighborhood its character, and that the disconnect we are experiencing is only temporary.

Let's find a better way forward together.

4 comments:

  1. It's not what you look like when you're doing what you're doing,
    It's what you're doing when you're doing what it looks like you're doing.
    *Charles Wright

    These are the brilliant lyrics from the song "Respect Yourself" and it is fitting for us on several levels. Read it several times and it will come together and maybe even make a little sense.

    Suspicious Detail #1
    Upon researching Goodman Realty I discovered that the large metal building complex that includes the rock climbing gym, Kiss Cafe, Portage Bay, Trident Seafood and a number of other business is actually a Goodman Realty development listed on their site. I don't know for sure that they still own it but I expect they do as it is still listed on their site. Not to mention, it was pretty cheaply renovated (metal barn siding) as if not being done for the “long haul”.

    Suspicious Detail #2
    Lockhaven was indeed purchased in an unusual way in that the "due diligence" portion of the sale related to building inspection specifically was eliminated as a component of the final price negotiation. It's unusual for a large company to buy any building, let alone buildings, without a fairly thorough assessment of the structures themselves. This assessment gives the potential buyer leverage to lower their offer price, withdraw the offer or negotiate other elements of the sale if they find deficiencies. It is also critical to developing an acceptable approach to a renovation plan as well as understanding what it will cost the budget to bring the renovated structures back on-line, as it were. Skipping this standard step seems to have really put their people out into the wild and is probably partly the reason that the project has progressed so clumsily thus far. Due diligence exists for a reason and to decline it means SOMETHING.

    Suspicious Detail #3
    John Goodman's reputation as an old Ballard boy, local, Good Samaritan, and generous philanthropist were the very reasons that the Ecklunds chose Goodman Realty's offer over the others. In addition GR was willing to agree to the "safe list". He seems to be none of these things or, as stated above, is so disconnected from his operations on the ground that he doesn't even know what's going on in his own back yard. Either way, he did not arrive "as advertised".

    Suspicious Detail #4
    Supposedly part of the narrative given to the Ecklunds was that after a period of time this property would transfer from Goodman Realty to his own personal portfolio in order that he could leave it to his children. I find it difficult to swallow the idea that something so “special” to him would be treated in such a hands-off fashion.

    It's not what you look like when you're doing what you're doing,
    It's what you're doing when you're doing what it looks like you're doing.
    *Charles Wright

    CONTINUES IN NEXT COMMENT...

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  2. CONTINUED

    It's not what you look like when you're doing what you're doing,
    It's what you're doing when you're doing what it looks like you're doing.
    *Charles Wright


    What it looks like they’re doing is upgrading Lockhaven in order to be a viable asset for the foreseeable future with increased revenues based on new rental rates upon completion of the renovation. But as you add up the details it looks to me like some sort of red haring.

    I think Goodman Realty has some really long-term development plans for eventually purchasing the Lock Vista property and developing the whole area including Lockhaven and the metal building with the rock climbing gym, which would give him ALL of property surrounding the locks while locking out competitors. The locks are the key. It’s a huge tourist draw already and best of all – it’s maintained by federal funds and will never ever close because it has military, maritime and fisheries uses that tend to supercede anything else competing for federal dollars. I expect he would either develop these acres of land himself or sell the whole area off to some other developer for a great profit.

    Yes there are currently zoning laws that would restrict that sort of thing but if he is looking at a 12-14 year horizon there is plenty of time to throw attorneys and political clout at it to get those changed. The whole drive for increased population density in Seattle would go a long way in helping him succeed in this. And let’s not forget that he lives in an old Azteca around the corner that is classified as a club with 1 member so that he can live in an area not zoned for residential. I think he gets what he wants. And if he wants an enormous mixed use, retail, residential, condo, hotel sort of mega development piggy backing on the federally funded Chittenden Locks he can probably do that too.

    The renovations to Lockhaven, even if the plan was to raise the buildings someday, are totally worth it if they allow for higher rents for the next decade as well as distracting others from realizing what he is actually doing. It would pay for itself.

    Moving Lockhaven into a personal portfolio or your children’s portfolio is a descent way to hide ownership especially if you don’t want others identifying your acquisitions and property holdings in a particular area.

    If I’m correct (and that is an “if”) and the owner of the Lock Vista ever figured out what Goodman was up to they could hold out for a king’s ransom for that property. This would be John Goodman’s ‘missing tooth’ in his near perfect smile. That tooth is very important and others knowing that would give them great leverage in a negotiation with Goodman Realty. He wouldn’t want that.

    Maybe this whole renovation is some sort of high powered ruse to distract from the true ambitions of Goodman Realty. Or maybe not. But when faced with such a questionable approach people tend to question that very approach.

    By the way, when the dust settles they are going to name Lockhaven "Cadence". Lame!

    Thoughts?

    It's not what you look like when you're doing what you're doing,
    It's what you're doing when you're doing what it looks like you're doing.
    *Charles Wright



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  3. Occupy Lockhaven!

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  4. Don't you know who you're dealing with? This is the guy who convinced the city that his waterfront home (former Tides Tavern/Azteca) next to Ray's Boathouse is a commercial building. Sure it is; it's a B.S. factory. You should look how much $$ he gives to his favorite city council members. He with the gold rules.

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