Robert Monks son Bobby Monks and his partner Tim O’Neil is looking for another government handout in the form of a TIF from the City of Portland. Not only that they want to shelter 100% of the increment (which is all of the taxes since the building is currently tax exempt), they have no plan to increase staffing and they want a waiver form the recently enacted LEED certification requirement of all project involving city resources.
The project is the redevelopment of the former Baxter Library on Congress Street for use by an advertising agency, VIA Marketing that currently employs 64 people in Portland. The library was sold to the Maine College of Art in 1983 after the opening of the Main Library in 1979. (I need to find out what the terms of that sale were.)
The memo says that there would be room for expansion, but does not outline how much or what VIA’s plans for expansion are.
The Baxter Library building is marketable without need for a TIF for the right price. Of course Monks & O’Neil’s financials on the project will be confidential so we will have to trust that council is not giving away the farm on this.
Note that State Senator Justin Alfond and Greg Shinberg did not seek a TIF for their redevelopment of the USM Portland House Dormitory which is right down the street. That project in my mind might have qualified for some of the criteria of a TIF.
Let’s see how long it takes for the press to pick up on this one.