Fakhoury to make final development proposal this week

Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — Local real estate investor Hakim Fakhoury on Thursday is expected to make one last pitch to City Council members on a west downtown development project.

The meeting comes a little more than a month after Fakhoury publicly blamed city officials for the inaction on his Dearborn Village Partners project and announced that he was selling his entire collection of west downtown commercial properties, along with more than $40 million in redevelopment tax incentives as a package deal.

Fakhoury said Friday that the meeting is to discuss the terms of his preferred developer’s status for the city parking lot on Garrison between Military and Howard. The site is central to the real estate package he hopes to sell because a large majority of the tax credits are contingent on a development being constructed there.

Council members in December awarded Fakhoury a one-year extension of the status, which first was granted in 2005, but he has yet to sign off on it because of problems he said he has with the contract language.

Fakhoury said he hopes to convince council to approve the changes to the contract that he has proposed so that the status is official and he can continue negotiating with a potential buyer on the properties. Without the preferred developer’s status, the tax credits no longer are available, which would make selling the rest of the property next to impossible, he said.

An analysis of the two contracts – the city’s and Fakhoury’s – show few, although key, differences.

Perhaps the largest discrepancy rests with the construction of a 913-space parking deck. The city’s proposed contract language holds that the developer would be responsible for the deck’s construction and would recover costs through tax-increment financing revenues. The city would retain ownership of the deck and also collect any operational revenues.

Fakhoury instead would have the developer design the deck that the city then would be responsible for building. Again, the cost would be recovered through tax-increment financing, and the city would retain ownership and revenue rights on the deck.

Fakhoury also said he takes exception to a clause that essentially prevents him from suing the city or any city employees for monetary damages under any circumstance unless the city enters negotiations with another company on the property while Fakhoury has preferred developer’s status.

There are also multiple clauses that give the city the right to immediately terminate the preferred developer’s agreement if numerous conditions aren’t met, which Fakhoury does not support.