Monday, December 19, 2005

Why Libertarian?

Because while Libertarians are very growth oriented, they don't give away the store.

Hamilton County features some of the hottest real estate property in Indiana. Farm ground that went for about $5,000/acre 10 years ago now goes for upwards of $75,000/acre from SR 32 and south. Some farmers receive two or three offer calls per week from developers who make pitches involving this kind of money.

These developers take on all the risks. Because it is their judgment that they can re-sell the improved property at a substantial profit, they will lay out millions of dollars to build the basic infrastructure before they sell a single sublot. Developers build roads, sewers, utility mains, walking paths, detention ponds at their own cost, and then turn this infrastructure over to the municipalities as a gift, all for the privilege of being able to sell the developed results.

So, why do we have this to look at on Greenfield Avenue (fka SR 238) in Noblesville?

This is the Noblesville Corporate Campus. Today, it has zero tenants operating, and yet, there are roads to nowhere, sanitary sewers serving corn fields, and snappy-looking entrance signs. For two years, it's all been sitting unused.

Which developer built this infrastructure? No private developer. This was built with public money, spent by the all-Republican Noblesville Common Council. Of course, no private developer would have begun building without a sense of urgency for filling the available parcels.

The stated purpose for building these roads and sewers was to lure high-wage life sciences companies to fill the Corporate Campus. One biotech company, Helmer, had announced its intentions to relocate there. In the last year, news about Helmer- or any other biotech company- has been completely absent from news about the Corporate Campus. Now it's all about the retail giant Simon, and the new shopping palace they will construct here.

Don't get me wrong, Simon's shopping area will create jobs in the area. They just pale next to what the life sciences had to offer. Moreover, retail jobs weren't the stated purpose for this gamble. This is fall-back success.

There is simply no way that a Libertarian official would have voted to approve this kind of development, where the city provides the infrastructure as a gift to anyone who will finally come along, the reverse of how it should be done. Yet, this is what the Republicans did in Noblesville.

They gave away the store. They now are reduced to hoping that sufficient development comes in and quickly, so it can generate the tax revenue needed to repay the bonds floated to build the roads and sewers a developer would have given to the city for free.


GadFlier said...

The great punchline is that Helmer doesn't even do biotechnology in the first place. They supply refrigerators and freezers (and centrifuges) to medical establishments! None of these, of course, would be manufactured in the USA. In other words, it would have been nothing but a sales and service office from Helmer in the new "park". Sales and service are not high-paying.

CAM said...

Just like the "Technology Park" built by the City of Bloomington. It's now occupied by Menards, a Goodwill store, two car dealerships, a lawn chemical company, United Methodist headquarters, and the BMV office. High-tech is nowhere to be found.

GadFlier said...

When a research university sets up a "partnership park" of some sort, the businesses move in. Why? Because there is a true profit-enhancement to such association. The university has pre-committed itself to working with users, and that's a lot of consultation and hob-nobbing potential.

The problem is that most politicians are just ot-nay oo-tay ight-bray. They think that it's the buildings and utilities that draw "tech" businesses, not built-in academic expertise.

What is worse is that, in Indiana, we have a political culture of anti-academic dimwittery for its own sake. In some states (Florida), when a research scientist gets an NIH grant, it comes with a letter of congratulations from the state's Senators--at the Federal level, Florida has elected officials interested in getting whatever technology/science advantage they can get for their state. This is not true for Indiana.