Letter to the Editor: Turtle Bay Hotel – Just the Facts, Folks?

As a result of my first “letter to the editor”, many more questions have come to my attention, so I decided to get some answers. Here are the questions and the answers that have come up:

  1. Who are the people that are “working” at the Petition locations and where are they getting their mis-information? After visiting a number of locations, and talking with 3 in particular, I was told they are from Oregon or Washington; are not union members; and are paid by the “labor bosses” for each signature they obtain, whether it is valid or not. I was told they were given information to say to folks and that 2 of the 3 had never heard of Turtle Bay or the Hotel until they were told what to say when they came to Redding.
  2. Where did the exorbitant number (over $4 million) that has come up as to the value of the property come from, and is it accurate? Absolutely not. No one seems to know for sure, other than it was stated by a citizen that testified at the Council meeting. In reality, the value testified to by the three appraisals by fully qualified MAI appraisers were all lower than what the purchase price actually was. Furthermore, the statement made that it is “riverfront” is very misleading and inaccurate. It is not riverfront property, but rather an extension of the current un-paved and largely un-used parking area just to the east of the present entrance to the Civic Center-Turtle Bay area, roughly one quarter of a mile from the river, with no access to the river. Lastly, the fact that the property has an 88 year lease severely limiting its use devalued the property significantly.
  3. The McConnell Foundation is going to buy the property then sell it immediately for a profit, is non-sense. The Foundation, as is widely known in the north state, is an organization dedicated to improving the education and cultural environment throughout the area. Both Mr. and Mrs. McConnell had “deep roots” in the north state, with Mrs. McConnell being born and raised in Siskiyou County. Mr. McConnell loved the outdoors, sports, and recreation in the north state, thus investing here some 60 years ago. The mandate given by the McConnell’s to “give back” to the north state still determines the current mission of the Foundation. The hotel is the most recent effort to continue to support cultural activities in the area…this time again, Turtle Bay.
  4. Who will gain financially from this hotel? Clearly, the City of Redding and indirectly, Shasta County (by property tax). In addition, the financial gain will the good wages and salaries to the many families benefiting from the many jobs that are being created. Initially there will be over 85 construction jobs all going to local contractors, some of them union companies. Then, the hotel will initially employ 70 permanent employees which will grow to at least 80 as business develops. This will be in addition to our local businesses that will provide goods and services to support the hotel, from paper products to beverage services. The financial gain to the City of Redding is a huge factor, with over $700,000 going to the City general fund from hotel sales and property taxes alone. Over 20 years, this is a $14 million dollar “gift” that is all new money to the City. This will allow for a number of additional officers and hires for both the police and fire departments, as well as much needed improvements to our streets and city infra-structure. The dollars impacting the local economy from both the Turtle Bay expenditures, the hotel expenditures, and the expenditures by visitors is also most impressive, totaling over millions….all benefiting Redding and Shasta County. (Note: all financial numbers can be verified by information submitted to the City staff in preparation for the Council presentation).

So, in summary, when you start looking at all of the facts, the project becomes even more attractive and convincing. To use a well-used phrase, this is a total “win-win” for all….Turtle Bay, the City, the County, the entire construction and service industry, and all of the citizens and visitors in the North State.

Ron Largent
Anderson,CA

Ron Largent is a Realtor, business owner and longtime Redding resident. He can be reached at [email protected] or ronlargent.yourkwagent.com.

is a Realtor, business owner and longtime Redding resident. He can be reached at [email protected] or ronlargent.yourkwagent.com.
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7 Responses

  1. Janet Tyrrel says:

    Thanks for these facts. Confirmation of private conversations I have had with local union members re: “outside union leaders” have deemed the prevailing wage issue must be front and center to defeat this project.

  2. teco_mac says:

    Didn’t the McConnell Fdn. purchase the old Casablanca Motel site and other properties along N. Market? Why can’t they develope those spaces with an income producing endeavor to benefit Turtle Bay and give a much needed improvement to N. Market St. at the same time? A win-win scenario! A development of boutique style shops, cafes & a motel, all to benefit and support Turtle Bay would be a solid improvement to the area and to Redding.

    Building a hotel on the Turtle Bay site has several downsides to it. First, we are giving up more public open land for asphalt and for-profit buildings in an area where openness is the primary attraction. Secondly, the hotel will compound the already recognized issue of traffic congestion with only one road serving Turtle Bay & the Civic Auditorium. Thirdly, building one hotel (vs. a variety of shops, cafes & a hotel on Market St.) is akin to putting all the eggs in one basket. What if they build it and the overhead of the hotel consumes too much of the profit and Turtle Bay Still has financial trouble? Now we’ve given up 14+ acres of public open land, Turtle Bay now is struggling to keep a hotel AND a museum afloat!

    Shouldn’t we slow down here and reconsider the North Market St possibilities? My vote wants a long-term win-win solution, not a short term (10-12 months of jobs for a few local people) win- loose scenerio where the public looses a large piece of public space in a very highly visited and enjoyed recreation spot and the high risk that this just buries Turtle Bay deeper in dept!

  3. `AJacoby says:

    One of the points Ron made is that the space being discussed is, for sure ‘open’ but is very little used. It is mostly bare rock and undergrowth that exists around the monolith. It certainly isn’t wilderness and with all the development around it, that area it is already an urban space. I don’t understand why the union hierarchy is so against this. Is it just a matter of power and control?

  4. Spanky says:

    Exactly, thank you Ron.

  5. Don Cohen says:

    I may have missed it, but I would like to know how much paying prevailing wage would cost and how much the total project is costing. Without this info it is impossible to decide if this is a practical matter or ideaology. re: #4 I think the question is who will own the hotel?

  6. James wilson says:

    If this propose project is being sold to the residents of Redding as a economy boost and creator of jobs then why would they not want to pay prevailing wages?????
    Prevailing wage is just as it is stated to prevail the wage.. So you would think the city council of Redding would want the hotel built paying prevailing wage.. Many local redding construction workers would be able to work at home with a good wage. In return like most Americans they would spend more in there community.. Creating a true trickle down for many instead of a few.. Or the alternative is to make a decent living they drive far away from Redding to work and pay for motels in other cities, buy groceries in other cities, play in other cities.. Seems so obvious to me..
    Well at least after following this issue I know why wages are so low in the REDDING area..

    • mike warren says:

      James,

      why wouldn’t Costco build their new store with prevailing wage? Or why did your doctor’s office build without paying prevailing wage? How about your house and those homes around you? The answer is that prevailing wage laws cover only buildings that are paid in part or whole by the government – city hall, parks, streets, community pools, etc. this hotel is being built entirely with private funding.
      Some have said if it is not PW than it is minimum wage or wages that a person cannot live on. Not true. First, 25% of the work on the hotel will be by union sub contractors. Second, we called the largest sub contractors that are not union and asked what they pay their employees. the owners of the companies (mechanical and plumbing)said that the range was $40,000 – $82,000 with an average of about $61,000. I am sure that some workers will be paid minimum or just above minimum wage but that happens on PW projects too. Overall, though, the wages will represent this area and for much of the work be very good.

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