Monday, January 26, 2015
City of Joplin Official Statement on Wallace-Bajjali exit
Today the City received an email from Costa Bajjali that confirmed his resignation from Wallace Bajjali Development Partners, LP, as of January 23, 2015. Also included in the correspondence was a copy of David Wallace’s resignation letter, dated January 7, 2015, from this same firm. Prior to receiving these notices, the City was unaware of either representative’s actions, other than third party information it had received last week about the Joplin offices of Wallace Bajjali being closed.
As a result of this information, the City is reviewing its options regarding the contractual agreement the Joplin City Council entered into with WBDP on July 2, 2012.
In the past two and a half years, the City has paid Wallace Bajjali approximately $1.68 million for work performed. This includes:
• $1 million, which represents a 50% reimbursement of the actual costs ($2 million) spent by the master developer for their work in the community;
• $475,000 fees for land purchases (this cost will be reimbursed when the property is sold to WB)
• Some $200,000 has been paid for work performed in the revenue and cost benefit analysis of the TIF formation (tax increment financing), and legal fees for tax credits that the firm helped in acquiring.
On January 16, 2015, City Manager Sam Anselm notified Wallace Bajjali that their insurance had lapsed, and they had 30 days to cure this default, as stated in the master predevelopment agreement. The City has not received a response from WBDP on this matter.
Although the status of the master development firm is uncertain, City officials remain confident in the continued efforts of rebuilding and development of Joplin.
“The new library project is on track,” said Joplin Mayor Mike Seibert. “The City Council will vote on the contracts for the architectural and engineering firms at our next meeting. I would expect to have a groundbreaking event in the near future.” Currently the library is limited to 35,000 square feet, does not meet ADA compliance, and is landlocked from any expansion at its current location in the 300 block of South Main Street, which prevents any future growth of services.
City staff is also seeking direction from the Economic Development Administration to utilize a portion of the EDA $20 million stimulus grant for infrastructure needs of an adjoining retail development in that area. This could include publicly-owned items such as sidewalks, streetlights, or stormwater work for the area.
A request for proposal (RFP) for a senior citizens housing complex will also be released in upcoming weeks.
“This is an unfortunate occurrence with the master developer, and we will keep the public informed as we learn more about the outcomes of the firm’s partners’ resignations,” said Seibert. “In the meantime, the City does have several projects in motion, with great staff in place. We will continue moving forward in order to rebuild Joplin and keep our commitment to our citizens in making this city better than it was prior to the tornado.”