First off let’s be real about this issues, no such development exist within the City of Moreno Valley beyond a short video presentation, conceptual drawings made up of Las Vegas landmarks, and a whole lot of hot air. What is real however is without any commitment to develop this non-submitted project; it will still come at millions of dollars in costs, as well as years of lost services to the taxpayers of Moreno Valley.
The project itself has been pushed by members of Moreno Valley’s City government as a joint public and private venture, one which Moreno Valley through the use of taxpayer dollars, and elaborate financing schemes will lead the way by putting in over 75 million dollars in infrastructure improvements alone, with the idea such spending when the City is near bankrupt will stimulate growth, jobs and tax revenue, but the question is, to what extent. Will we see a complete return on our monies to the point of making a real profit on the costly investment, will we ever overcome the long term loss of service as a result of the need to barrow that which we don’t have, will we truly be a joint partner in the business aspects of the development and thus gain a portion of its profits, these are real hard questions which need to asked.
Now let’s focus on some of what the City isn’t willing to discuss (as noted in Mayors Stewart’s refusal to answer my email regarding this exact topic).
No contract exists between those the City of Moreno Valley claims are parties to this “strategic partnership,” in fact all parties with the exception of the City of Moreno Valley have denied any such partnership exists.
Although the video which was presented at the Mayor’s State of The City function, had Highland Fairview written all over it, the CEO and President of Highland Fairview, Iddo Benzeevi himself denied any desire or partnership with this project during a meeting of Moreno Valley citizens in September of 2011 which was held at Round Table Pizza in the Rancho Belago section of the City, what he did state however was “if the City wants his land, they will have to pay for it.”
Do we believe what he said? No, for when it comes to Iddo Benzeevi, “The truth is just another form of fiction.”
The motive behind the Nason Street extension to Iris Avenue:
Nason St. itself dead ends south of Cactus Avenue in the area of where John F. Kennedy Dr. would have continued westward toward Lasselle St., had it not have been removed from the City’s street system as a result of Moreno Valley Properties (or Highland Fairview’s or whatever LLC they are hiding behind these days) Aquabella Specific Plan. This situation creates a big obstacle for the Highland Fairview Wellness Campus should it ever reach true development status, as the campus is said to be planned east of the new Nason Street extension (which currently doesn’t exist).
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Such a situation poses problems for Highland Fairview for several reason, one of which is the lack of money, the other is an existing development agreement with the City of Moreno Valley which would trigger their need to fulfill its contractual agreements of infrastructure improvements and various roadway improvements as set forth in the existing Aquabella development agreement, some of which include the Cactus Ave. widening from Lasselle Street to Nason Street, and Nason Street Widening from State Route 60 to Cactus Avenue, those thing that are now set to be paid for at the taxpayers’ expense.
Although the City staff of Moreno Valley has stated during open public council meetings under questioning by Councilwoman Hastings, that Aquabella is no longer an existing project, they have stopped short of using the verbiage which would indicate it will never be happening, opting for words such as “technically or generally speaking,” there is no Aquabella. This is nothing more than legal speak aimed at avoiding the use of words which would declare AquaBella as a permanently canceled project. It is our belief that it is for the lack of direct answers, or at times outright deceptive answers by Barry Foster, City Manager Henry Garcia and others within the City staff, Councilwoman Hastings has taken her stance on non-approval for the funding of the roadway improvements in that area (a wise move on her part).
You see even with the City’s claim of Aquabella “technically” being dead, they claim the development agreement still stands, therefore any movement by Highland Fairview to begin any form of construction upon the land covered under the existing development, would free the taxpayers from the financial burden of any of the roadway and infrastructure now being placed on their shoulders, and would place it on those of Highland Fairview, regardless of the Aquabella development, which is where it should be.
Years ago when Moreno Valley Properties (Highland Fairview) sought the Aquabella Specific Plan, it was they who requested and had removed from the City’s circulation plan Nason Street through to Iris Ave., as well as the full connection of John F. Kennedy Drive from Lasselle Street to Nason, as well as pedestrian walkways and bike paths.
However now that (even though they don’t admit it) they wish to develop in an area which has no roadway access (Nason St.), they want to do so on our dime.
It is sort of like their Highland Fairview Corporate Park Project (Skechers), there too was a project that if not for their land, was a project developed on someone else’s dime, that project was only made possible through the formation of sever joint venture LLC’s between HF Logistics (Highland Fairview) and Skechers U.S.A. Inc., by which Skechers became the sole funding source by seeking and obtaining constructions loads by using it business and inventory as collateral for securing its funding.
Here Highland Fairview has a situation to benefit in many ways, it is removed as the legally responsible party for all the planned roadway and infrastructure improvements the City is now poised to commit itself to, the City will need to purchase from Highland Fairview (if Highland Fairview doesn’t donate the land without some form of strings attached) for the extension of Nason Street through to Iris Ave. as well as any frontage land need for the widening of Cactus Ave. from Lasselle to Nason, this is a win win for Highland Fairview, however a large costly gamble for the City of Moreno Valley.
Of course there is also the Capital Improvement Projects scheduled around the Highland Fairview Corporate Park Project by the City, and all Highland Fairview needs to do is wait it out, and those too will be completed at the taxpayers’ expense, as developers are not required to pay for improvements which a city performs at its own expense.
We haven’t even touched on the infrastructure and roadway improvements which have already been done or are in the process of being performed which were requirements of Highland Fairview to do in the event of any movement upon its Aquabella Project site, such as the Nason Street SR60 interchange, and Lasselle St. widening from John F. Kennedy Dr. to Alessandro Blvd., (maybe next time).
Now we can move on to debunking the claims made by Mayor Stewart and others within the governmental structure of the City of Moreno Valley, which claim that this Medical Campus was the idea of Moreno Valley’s new City Manager Henry Garcia.
In order for this to be the case, Mr. Garcia would have had to be our City Manager back in 2010, however we all know that not to be the case, in fact he didn’t come into play until February of 2011, that’s not to say that some form of communication didn’t take place prior to his selection as our new City Manager prior to his hiring by the City, however that would be quite unusual for such collusion to take place between a City and a not yet to be chosen City Manager, however this is Moreno Valley, and Highland Fairview’s Iddo Benzeevi was on the “blue ribbon panel” along with many of his close associates which was tasked with selecting our new city manager (that is until it got leak out that there was such a panel).
The truth is Highland Fairview had already voiced its desire to place such a development within its Aquabella project area as early as April 5th, of 2010, long before Henry Garcia. The letter from Highland Fairview, which shows who truly came up with this concept and when can be viewed by clicking the link bellow.
To View Letter of April 5th, 2010 From Highland Fairview, CLICK HERE. (Please note: Improvements and infrastructure work shown within this letter, were not performed by or funded in anyway by Highland Fairview, but were paid for with tax dollars and or by other means).
To View The Entire Aquabella Development Agreement (Ordinance No. 704) CLICK HERE.
The only thing Henry Garcia has accomplished from his date of hiring to today, is assist Highland Fairview in any way possible to seek control over the development of Moreno Valley, up to and including the designation of all areas east of Redlands Blvd. for the use of warehousing and distribution, something Highland Fairview sought in its EIR in a letter submitted by CB Richard Ellis which stated the applicants desires for a “modified logistics general plan,” for all areas east of Redlands Blvd…
For proof of the above claim regarding the the area east of Redlands Blvd., CLICK HERE (Note: We are still looking for the exact letter from CBRE to the City of Moreno Valley, however what is provided here should do for now).
For those of you who watch the Food Network it’s like they say, “If it smells fishy, don’t buy it,” and when it comes to the City of Moreno Valley it has been smelling a little fishy for some time now.