By Brandon Hall
(Email him at WestMiPolitics@Gmail.com)
A shocking, scandalous report from WXYZ in Detroit revealed last year that the State of Michigan is grossly overpaying for a new Senate Building that has disgusted Michiganders as the state scrapes together money for roads and other essential services while gas taxes and vehicle registration fees continue to go up.
MIRS has revealed the total cost of the new Senate Building will be over $130 million dollars when it’s all said and done… No assessment was done for a deal that lines the pockets of a major GOP donor, and many Michiganders are upset after revelations the state paid millions more than what it’s worth.
The reason for the new office? So that Senators have a better view of the capital building!
State Senator Phil Pavlov didn’t say or do anything to stop that deal, which has now appeared as an issue in a mailer in his race against Paul Mitchell for Congress in Michigan’s 10th District.
So what happened with that shady building deal? WXYZ says:
“The Michigan Senate drastically overpaid for new office space purchased from a politically-connected developer, according to Lansing’s assessor of record. William Fowler told Channel 7’s Ross Jones that the $41 million purchase price isn’t supported by the current real estate market in downtown Lansing.
“Based on everything you know, is this building anywhere near worth $41 million?” asked Channel 7’s Ross Jones.
“Not in today’s market,” Fowler said, calling the sales price “three times greater than anything that has sold downtown of comparable use.”
Fowler says that his office currently has Capitol View assessed at about $12 million, a figure he says is closer to what it’s actually worth. Were it to be built brand new today, his office estimates it would cost just under $22 million.
Fowler says his office won’t use Capitol View’s sale price as a benchmark for assessing other properties downtown.
The building has been dubbed the “Capitol View boondoggle” by Democratic lawmakers, and even though the project was pushed through by Republicans leadership, even many Republicans have a hard time defending the purchase.
“I don’t think anybody’s excited about it,” said Rep. Al Pscholka (R-Stevensville). “I don’t think anybody likes it.”
But like it or not, barring some last-minute maneuver, Michigan taxpayers will be on the hook to pay for all of it: $41 million for the building, as much $10 million to fix it up and, when you add on 30-years of interest, a total cost of about $134 million.
Sen. Arlen Meekhof (R-West Olive) is the Senate Majority Leader in Lansing today. He wasn’t in charge when the Senate made the deal to buy Capitol View last year, but he did support it. When we visited his offices last month, he wouldn’t talk to us about Capitol View. Instead, his office sent out Meekhof’s spokeswoman, Amber McCann.
“(The assessor) said that the $41 million is substantially higher than he thinks the building is actually worth,” Jones told McCann. “Okay,” McCann replied.
“Does that trouble you at all?” Jones asked. “I’m not troubled by his opinion, he’s entitled to his opinion,” McCann said. “But doesn’t that make you feel like you maybe should have gotten that appraisal?” Jones asked. “At this point, I don’t feel like an appraisal was necessary,” she replied.”