Thursday, December 3, 2009

CA Chairman, GGP Spar

This can't be good. The Sun says tensions flared between Philip Kirsch, who heads the Columbia Association's board, and Gregory F. Hamm, Columbia's general manager for General Growth Properties, after the work session earlier this week on downtown Columbia.

When the verbal fireworks erupted, only the three council members who represent Columbia remained.

"He refuses to return phone calls," Kirsch said to Councilwoman Jen Terrasa as the session broke up. "That's not true," Hamm shot back, noting that he has a meeting scheduled for Monday with Nelson to talk about Symphony Woods. He later said the meeting was set up more than a week earlier.

"That's a false statement," Hamm repeated. "There's a lack of responsiveness in this relationship, but not on our part," Hamm said, as Councilman Calvin Ball, an east Columbia Democrat, suggested a public spat wasn't helpful. Council chairwoman Mary Kay Sigaty, a west Columbia Democrat, was the third member present.

"They want our land," Kirsch said about GGP. Hamm countered that his firm could use easements or other "minor property line adjustments" to allow General Growth to use CA property to help remake Merriweather. Without cooperation from the CA, he told the council, the pavilion would not be able to expand into a full-time cultural draw and eventually become public property. Instead, it would continue its limited concert venue role under the developer's ownership.

"It's a valuable asset to us now," he told the council members. "We can't go giving things away."

No comments: