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Topic: Where does Flint's pension now stand ? Insolvency near

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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Split retirement board approves transfer of Flint pension fund after emergency manager changes board

Kristin Longley | klongley1@mlive.com By Kristin Longley | klongley1@mlive.com

on July 19, 2012 at 6:08 PM, updated July 19, 2012 at 6:15 PM

FLINT, MI -- During a 10-minute specially called meeting, a split Flint retirement board transferred the city's nearly half-billion-dollar pension fund to a statewide system this morning.

Flint emergency manager Michael Brown's administration says the shift to the Michigan Municipal Employees Retirement System (MERS) will save the city about $1.5 million a year in administrative costs -- but they may face legal action from retirees who are against the move.

The transfer was narrowly adopted with a 5-4 vote without any discussion by board members.

The issue had been discussed at previous meetings in May and June, but failed to pass. Last month, Brown invoked his authority as emergency manager to replace a sitting board member, tipping the board's makeup in favor of MERS.

Newly appointed board member Joshua Freeman, a Flint city councilman, said Thursday the cost-saving move made sense to him after he questioned the city's finance and benefits staff.

"It was a numbers thing," Freeman said. "Why not switch to a system that's cheaper to run?"

But some retirees are against shifting the $460-million pension fund out of local control, and questioned what they felt was a hasty vote on a weighty issue.

Flint retiree Don Phillips said it was "railroaded through" and the retirees would likely fight the transfer in court. He said moving to a Lansing-based system will make it harder for people to air their grievances or have a voice in the system.

"You're giving everything over to strangers in Lansing," said Phillips, who retired in 1985. "You're completely eliminating the employees' voice on the retirement board."

More than 800 municipalities are part of the MERS statewide system, and Flint is now the largest, officials said.

The city's pension system is about 68 percent funded, according to the latest available valuation in June 2010.

Brown's administration said transferring the local system to MERS was recommended by a legacy costs committee formed soon after Brown was appointed on Dec. 1. The committee was chaired by Flint's former emergency financial manager Ed Kurtz, who led the city's first takeover in 2002-04.

Flint Finance Director Jerry Ambrose said MERS outperformed the Flint system on its rate of return, and the switch will bring the pension fund "much-needed stability, even more than in the past."

The transfer won't change retirees' pensions, he said.

As for the timing of the vote, Ambrose said the emergency manager has talked about changes to the pension system "for months."

"We have a charge to restore Flint to financial solvency -- why would we wait?" he said.

Ambrose said MERS is governed by a nine-member board made up of elected representatives from the municipalities belonging to the system, and Brown has said MERS' customer service team is a step up from what Flint can provide amid budget cuts.

Still, there are lingering questions from some retirees, including retirement board member Sherry Murphy.

She wants to know how the switch will affect the city's required annual contribution to the system, since MERS has a goal of moving to a 20-year amortization schedule, as opposed to Flint's current 30-year schedule.

"I don't like making decisions before I know all the answers," she said.

Many factors go into determining the city's annual contribution, and recent benefits changes made by the emergency manager will help lower that cost, Ambrose said. And, he said, MERS has agreed to gradually change Flint's schedule over a number of years to ease the transition.

"The change in contribution should be not too far off where it would otherwise be if we didn't change (to MERS)," he said.

Before the vote, board members also heard from Barry Fagan, a representative for registered nurses at Hurley Medical Center, who switched to MERS about seven years ago.

Fagan said members have been "very happy with the system" since the transfer, and the number of complaints regarding pensions has gone down.

But some of the retirees took issue with the way the measure was passed. Under the state's emergency manager law, Brown can only transfer a pension fund without board approval to a system that's 80 percent funded. MERS is about 76 percent funded.

But, Brown did have the authority as emergency manager to change the makeup of the board, and the board approved the transfer.

"I'm not specifically opposed to MERS," Murphy said. "It's just the whole way it was brought to us."

Ambrose said he thinks current employees and retirees will be served well by the change.

"We will ensure their benefits are protected and their assets are managed well," he said.


Last edited by untanglingwebs on Thu Feb 02, 2017 9:51 am; edited 1 time in total
Post Thu Feb 02, 2017 8:20 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

On January 11, 2017 (page 31 of 37 RTAB board minutes draft) Eric Cline, The Fiscal Responsibility Department Director for the Michigan Department of Treasury, spoke on the annual evaluation of Flint's financial position and the budget to actual.

The only issue raised was the need to resolve an issue with the demand from MERS for an increase of $19 million for Flint's annual contribution. On July 1st, there needs to be a $41 million contribution to MERS. Cline stated he was working with MERS and the Actuaries to find a solution.
Post Thu Feb 02, 2017 8:29 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Rumors are floating through City Hall of a possible bankruptcy of the City within 2 years and many are concerned about their pensions.
Post Thu Feb 02, 2017 8:31 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Lawmakers considering city pension reforms - Lansing State...
www.lansingstatejournal.com/story/news/local/watchdog/2016/1...

Nov 17, 2016 ... LANSING - Pensions are squeezing Michigan local governments, ... This year, when the Municipal Employees' Retirement System of Michigan (MERS) ..... 59.1 %:The share of the City of Flint's entire budget that would have to ...
Post Thu Feb 02, 2017 9:17 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Lawmakers considering city pension reforms
Justin A. Hinkley , Lansing State Journal Published 7:04 a.m. ET Nov. 17, 2016 | Updated 10:53 a.m. ET Nov. 18, 2016
MunicipalPension003Buy Photo

(Photo: Dave Wasinger/The Lansing State Journal)

LANSING — Dozens of cities, villages, townships and counties across Michigan are drifting into a perfect storm of flat income and big bills for retiree costs, but some are worried the Legislature could rush reforms this year that end up hurting more than they help.

Statewide, local governments are carrying some $4 billion in unfunded pension debt and $11 billion in unfunded retiree health care costs, according to the Michigan Treasury. That's putting the squeeze on many local governments whose revenues from property taxes and the state are relatively flat.

This year, when the Municipal Employees' Retirement System of Michigan (MERS) — which manages eight in 10 local government pension programs — asked municipalities to pay more to catch up, it put many governments in a serious bind.

Communities "are panicked about this issue across the state," said Port Huron City Manager James Freed, who convened nearly 70 communities in Lansing this fall to discuss the MERS changes. He called it "a clear and present danger" to government services.

Freed said many of the communities represented at that meeting are "on a financial trajectory in the next 3 to 5 years to become insolvent.”

That predicament, coupled with calls this year from major Republican donors to end municipal pensions for new employees, has many local leaders, Democrats and union officials expecting — and some fearing — that the GOP-controlled Legislature will push a pension overhaul in the lame-duck session that begins in earnest on Nov. 29.

State Rep. Andy Schor, D-Lansing, a former lobbyist for the Michigan Municipal League, said he'd heard rumors that dozens of bills could be dropped before New Year's Eve. Some could force local governments into 401(k) plans, in which retiree benefits are not guaranteed and which have become the norm in the private sector. There are also rumors of a plan to require any new revenue sharing from the state to go toward retiree debt.

"I wouldn't be surprised," Schor said. "Anything's possible in lame duck."

Republican leaders would not say pension reforms are on the lame-duck agenda, but also did not rule it out. The Associated Press reported this week that reforms to public school teachers' retirements are a priority for legislative leaders. Reforms to health care for municipal retirees — perhaps providing retirees with a stipend and moving them off municipal health plans and onto the federal health care exchange — have been discussed, but nothing's been finalized, the AP reported.

►Related: Lansing-area communities face looming legacy costs
►Related: Pensions gobbling up Battle Creek-area budgets
►Related: Retiree costs challenge cities, Livingston County
►Related: Governments preparing to weather the storm of debt to retirees

In an interview last month with the State Journal, Michigan Treasurer Nick Khouri said he was in talks with lawmakers but refused to say whether reforms were imminent. He said it was his preference to take advantage of the relatively stable economy to address legacy costs, efficiency of services and income simultaneously.

"We've got enough time to address the whole three big buckets of fiscal sustainability," Khouri said. "Where you run into problems is when you try to pull one of the three buckets out and try to address that (alone) … You really have to look at the big picture."

Some had expected Democrats to pick up seats or even reclaim control of the state House in this month's election, which could have prompted Republicans to move quickly. Since the GOP maintained its majority on Nov. 8, Republicans have at least two more years to push their agenda.

"The desire, on my part, is to still try and do something in lame duck, if we can, even we can just nibble something off the edges," said state Rep. Earl Poleski, a Republican who will leave office at year's end because of term limits. "I'm afraid that there's a little less urgency."
'The political will'

Reform advocates concede there may not be enough time to push a holistic solution in 2016. However, some said municipalities are in enough trouble that it could be worthwhile to get something done quickly and address other issues later.
Steve Kilmon, engineer, and firefighter Jared Nisch,Buy Photo

Steve Kilmon, engineer, and firefighter Jared Nisch, right, perform routine maintenance checks on the truck at Fire Station 1 on Friday, Nov. 11, 2016, in Lansing. The Legislature is discussing reforms to municipal retirement systems, like the one Lansing firefighters have. (Photo: Dave Wasinger/The Lansing State Journal)

"If there were a way to do it in my last few weeks, I would try to do that," Poleski said. "Now, is that practical? I don't know … I think there's enough information out there. The question is if there's the political will to get it done."

Lame-duck action could elicit a strong reaction from public employees, thousands of whom clogged the Capitol with other union workers to protest right-to-work legislation during the lame-duck session in 2012.

Eric Weber, president of the Lansing firefighters union, noted that he already pays a tenth of his paycheck toward retirement and said unions are cognizant of their employers' constraints. But he said governments should be mindful of workers' constraints, too, and lawmakers should remember that employees' and retirees' incomes pay taxes and fuel local economies.

"I respect the unfunded liability and we always work at the bargaining table to get to an amicable resolution that works for both parties," he said. "Why do they always want to come after the pensions of these public servants? We're not going to be able to afford things to keep the economy going."

Few deny, however, that the retiree costs coming due in the near future are a problem.
Post Thu Feb 02, 2017 9:25 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Governments preparing to weather storm of debt to retirees
Nicole Hayden , Times Herald Published 10:40 a.m. ET Nov. 18, 2016 | Updated 6:37 a.m. ET Nov. 19, 2016


It’s not a new or unique challenge, but some local officials are saying now is the time to start aggressively tackling unfunded pension debt and unfunded retiree health care costs.

Across the state, local governments are weighed down by nearly $4 billion in unfunded pensions and $11 billion in unfunded retiree health care costs, according to the Michigan Treasury.

Lawmakers considering city pension reforms

That’s money to be paid by local governments that don’t have the funds.

In Port Huron, the city is facing more than $103 million in unfunded pension and health care debt combined. That means nearly 50 percent of Port Huron’s pension and health care costs for current retirees are not funded.

The percentage continues to drop each year. If left unaddressed, Port Huron city residents could see a cut in services in order to pay those legacy costs.

Officials balance promises to retirees, budget woes

General fund cuts in Port Huron could impact police, fire, parks and recreation, public works and other services starting July 2017 if reforms are not pushed forward.

Port Huron City Manager James Freed has been at the forefront of discussions at the state level.

“It’s remarkable that after all the data from independent financial analysts, that there are some that question the totality of the situation,” Freed said. “That, to me, is staggering.”

The cost of liabilities continues to grow as available funds continue to thin.

Those thinning funds resulted from various issues including fewer employees paying into the retirement fund following recession layoffs, a lower return on investments made by the city, the downfall of the stock market; the housing crisis, and never lowering the retirement benefits offered over the years despite troubled economic times.

While local governments climb to recover from those losses, they are simultaneously trying to tackle the looming pension costs, which is a story in itself.

City manager: State falls short on urgency of cities' debt to retirees

The Municipal Employees’ Retirement System of Michigan, or MERS, manages eight in 10 local government pension programs. Port Huron is one of the municipalities that uses MERS.

This year, MERS asked municipalities to pay more on their debts in order to prevent the system from running out of money.

MERS is similar to a home mortgage, and asking municipalities to pay more is a lender telling the homeowner that his or her mortgage decreased from a 30-year mortgage to a 23-year mortgage. That would make the annual payments spike — and potentially be unmanageable if not planned for.

In addition, Freed said MERS used an overly optimistic rate of return as part of their portfolio valuation studies, never accounting for true market conditions. The return captured by the city helps offset the cost of the legacy pensions that the city is paying off.

Freed said he is hoping to have the ability to extend the payback period, which would result in smaller payments each year — in addition to selling bonds to help pay down the debt as well.

Local leaders and state representatives, among others, are anticipating a dozen bills that could be introduced during the Michigan lame-duck legislative session before the end of the year. Freed is hoping one of those bills will include reforms that direct MERS to expand the pay-back period.

While Port Huron fears the worst, other local governments say they are OK. But still, difficult decisions may be coming for all.
No reform means major cuts for Port Huron

It may not be a discussion any council member wants to have yet, but Port Huron will have to dip into its general fund to handle the costs if the unfunded pensions are not reformed.

Freed said 5 percent cuts from the general fund would be made starting with the 2017-2018 fiscal year, which begins July 2017. The 5 percent cuts would again be made in 2018 and 2019. The current general fund hits at about $22 million.

A 5 percent cut from the general fund would require a near $1.1 million reduction in expenses per year, with a total of over $3 million cut across three years.

Freed declined to comment where exactly those cuts would be made, but said there would be 5 percent blanket cuts throughout the whole general fund, which includes public safety, general government, public works, and parks and recreation.


The public safety budget is the largest chunk of the general fund. If a blanket cut is made, that could mean cutting the equivalent of nearly nine police department staff members and five fire department staff members over the next three years.

Port Huron Finance Director Ed Brennan said in the past, 90 percent of employee cuts made have been through attrition — employees who retire and are not replaced.

“Right now, we are not talking about those cuts. We are looking at bonding and talking with MERS,” Freed said. “If unfunded liabilities are left unaddressed, though, we will have to talk about cuts.”

When asked if the general fund could receive those projected cuts without affecting public safety, Freed said “no.”

If blanket cuts are made, the parks and recreation department would see nearly $394,000 cut from the budget over the next three years. However, many Port Huron council members said they would make large cuts that could exceed that number to the recreation department before they touch the public safety department.

While there are about 10 full-time recreation employees, there are many more part-time and seasonal workers for the department's parks, forestry, cemetery and recreation divisions, as well, and that's a number likely in the hundreds.
Members of the Port Huron Police Department investigate

Members of the Port Huron Police Department investigate the scene of a suspected hit-and-run Sept. 2, 2015, on Oak Street between 10th and and 11th Streets in Port Huron. (Photo: JEFFREY M. SMITH/TIMES HERALD)

Councilwoman Sherry Archibald said she would propose the city start by cutting funds from pools, parks and recreation before cutting funds from public safety. But she said cuts from police and fire would be inevitable if the city was forced to make the projected cuts.

“There are very few cuts left that can be made that won’t directly impact services to residents,” Archibald said. “We have cut nearly $1.7 million in the last two years from the general fund, and there is not much left we can cut.”

Archibald said the unfunded liabilities have the potential to be a dire situation if not addressed quickly.

“It’s not dire today, but it’s coming,” she said. “If we continue to kick it down the road and not address it, it will cost us more services in the long-run and be just like the sewer-separation project.”

Archibald said she does believe that the state will step in to address the issue before the city is forced to make such drastic cuts, though.

Councilman Rico Ruiz said he was taken aback when he learned how much of the city’s liabilities were unfunded. Currently, 17 percent of the general fund is going to cover those legacy costs.

“There may be hard choices down the road,” Ruiz said. “I don’t see a lot of wiggle room in our budget. I find solace that there are other communities in the same position and hope that Lansing will address this.”

Councilwoman Anita Ashford agreed, pointing out that Port Huron is not the only city facing this predicament. She said the city does have a way out of the hole if proper legislation comes out of the lame-duck session.

Councilman Ken Harris said the unfunded liabilities are not unlike having a mortgage, and having a mortgage is not a bad thing.

“I don’t want to dismiss it as not an issue, but I think it is an issue that is a little bit overplayed," Harris said. "I personally would like to see a zero-budget increase for the next five years. ... This past budget was approved and it is bigger, but our employees hadn’t had a raise in quite a few years, but we are at the end of that wire.”

Port Huron Mayor Pauline Repp said there is not a silver bullet, but a combination of options will be needed to address the debt. Repp said it is premature to talk about cutting services right now. She said the first step is to see what will come out of the legislature that will allow Port Huron, among other municipalities, to restructure its debt payments.
Other local governments

Of the 732 local governments that have pension plans through MERS, 61 are half-funded or worse, while more than 500 are below the recommended 80 percent. In St. Clair and Sanilac counties, there are about two dozen local governments on a MERS plan. Those municipalities that also offer retiree health care outside of MERS are even less funded than their MERS numbers allude to.

On average, Michigan municipalities have 78 percent of their pension costs funded. The average funding level in Michigan for municipal retiree health care plans hits at around 14 percent, though.

In St. Clair County, the health of municipality retiree pension and health care costs hit across the board.

Port Huron: Retiree pensions are 57 percent funded, health care and other benefits are 28 percent funded
Marysville: Pensions are 63 to 72 percent funded, health care is 59 percent funded
Marine City: Pensions are near 80 percent funded, health care is 0 percent funded
Algonac: Pension are 79 percent funded, the city has no health care liability
Croswell: Pensions are 57 percent funded
Port Sanilac: Pensions are 62.8 percent funded
Lexington: Pensions are 60 percent funded
Port Huron Township: Pensions are 69 percent funded

Marysville City Manager Randy Fernandez said while unfunded liabilities are a challenge for all, there is no crisis in Marysville and no city services will need to be cut. Fernandez said the city has been tackling their legacy costs for the past three years by researching various ways to handle the large bill.

"Now is definitely the time to discuss it; it is an issue," he said. "While it might be a crisis in other places, it is not for us."

Officials in Marine City and Croswell had similar sentiments — there are large chunks of money to be paid, but the cities don't feel they are in a dire situation. In Marine City, retiree health care is pay-as-you-go, which essentially makes it zero percent funded. Instead of borrowing a large chunk of money to pay those costs in advance, the city pays those costs directly from its budget each year.

"Budgets are tight and we have done everything we can, but there's not much more we can cut from our budget at this point," said Elaine Leven, Marine City city manager. "We are pretty average in our unfunded liabilities, though."

In Fort Gratiot, officials said there are no unfunded liabilities for retirees because employees aren’t guaranteed post-employment benefits. There are still costs to the township for its retired employees.

“The township (pays) 9 percent of the base salary into a personal retirement account for each employee as the budget allows,” Treasurer Judi Reynolds said. “It’s not a vested interested. If, for some reason, we run short on funds, that can go away.”

In St. Clair County, Administrator Karry Hepting called the county's pension plan a “very healthy, very well-funded” one, despite what on paper looks like a marginal drop in how much of that system is actually funded. According to St. Clair County’s valuation at the end of 2014, its pension funding ratio was 88.7 percent. A year later, it was 88.1 percent.

St. Clair County switched from a defined benefits pension plan to a defined contribution for new hires starting in 2009. Municipalities who followed suit stopped the growth of large pension plans, but that still did not tackle the already accrued legacy costs.

And while local governments are constitutionally required to continue paying pensions, there are no strict rules for paying retiree health care costs. Some municipalities across Michigan have cut retiree health care, while others refuse to rid past employees of those benefits. Around 2011, St. Clair County decided to change their retiree health care benefits to include larger co-pays and deductibles for retirees. Soon after, those retirees took action against the county in court claiming the change was not fair. While that litigation is still pending, other local governments, such as Sanilac County, are still looking to make similar changes.

While each local government addresses their legacy cost challenges their own way, Freed said it is still a statewide issue that will balloon if not addressed now. Freed said those who question the significance and reality of the problem are not taking a hard look at the numbers.

Contact Nicole Hayden at (810) 989-6279 or nhayden@gannett.com. Follow her on Twitter @nicoleandpig. Jackie Smith contributed to this report.
Post Thu Feb 02, 2017 9:41 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Link to another story that discusses the GOP Lame Duck measures. http://www.flinttalk.com/viewtopic.php?t=12398
Post Thu Feb 02, 2017 9:54 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Genesee County mayor named by Gov. Snyder to new pension task force


Roberto Acosta | racosta1@mlive.com By Roberto Acosta | racosta1@mlive.com

on February 10, 2017 at 7:00 AM, updated February 10, 2017 at 7:05 AM

BURTON, MI -- Mayor Paula Zelenko has been tabbed by Gov. Rick Snyder to join a newly-formed task force directed to find solutions to tackle pension and retiree healthcare unfunded liability problems.

The task force was started after a plan by former House Speaker Kevin Cotter, R-Mt. Pleasant, would have required municipalities struggling with the costs to pay for up to 80 percent and 20 percent by retirees was scrapped.

"Nearly every municipality in the state and throughout the nation faces a serious financial challenge in protecting those benefits already earned by retirees and current employees, while still making ends meet within our respective budgets," Zelenko said.


More than 334 local governmental units in the state provide either retiree health care, retiree defined benefit pension plan, or both, according to the governor's office.

Total unfunded liability for healthcare has been estimated at approximately $10 billion. The total unfunded pension liability has been estimated at roughly $4 billion.

"My goal for this task force is to have collaboration among legislators, state and local government officials, and employee representatives to ensure the financial stability and effective delivery of local government services for the coming decades," said Snyder in a release.

Recommendations by the task force -- including co-chairs Ben Carter, executive vice president and interim leader of East Group Operations for Trinity Health, and public accountant David J. Breen, a retired managing partner at Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP -- are expected by spring to help create a package of legislative reforms.

"In an environment of dwindling resources, we must look for and find innovations that will allow us to meet those obligations while also finding funds to build and maintain infrastructure, provide police and fire protection and maintain the level of service every taxpayer expects from local government," Zelenko said.
Post Fri Feb 10, 2017 9:46 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

MLive
Flint

State pension fund lost millions on failed Ann Arbor development

The Lower Town development site off Broadway Street and Maiden Lane in Ann Arbor on Feb. 10, 2017. The property has remained vacant for several years following a previous failed development. (Ryan Stanton | The Ann Arbor News)
Ryan Stanton | ryanstanton@mlive.com

Ryan Stanton | ryanstanton@mlive.com By Ryan Stanton | ryanstanton@mlive.com
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on February 10, 2017 at 1:40 PM, updated February 10, 2017 at 2:35 PM

ANN ARBOR, MI - The state's pension fund lost millions of dollars taking a chance on a private development deal in Ann Arbor.

The Michigan Department of Treasury confirmed this week the State of Michigan Retirement Systems lost about half its original $20 million investment in the failed Broadway Village project with the recent sale of the property to a new development team that is planning an entirely new project now.

About a decade ago, the SMRS, which manages pensions for hundreds of thousands of public school employees, state workers, state police and judges, made a $20 million equity investment to become a limited partner in a $172 million redevelopment project on Broadway Street, in the area of Ann Arbor known as Lower Town, north of downtown across the Huron River.

The project, officially known as Broadway Village at Lower Town, stalled soon after the developer finished demolishing the collection of shops that stood on the site, and the property, more than six acres, has sat vacant for several years now, surrounded by a chainlink fence, waiting for new investors to come along. It's been a sore point for residents who miss what used to be there.

"As the real estate market has improved, the general partner recently sold the property, resulting in a loss of approximately half the initial SMRS investment," Ron Leix, a spokesman for the treasury department, confirmed this week.

That's about a $10 million loss.

Leix said the Great Recession froze bank financing options and stalled the previous development project.

Going back more than a decade, the Strathmore Development Co. had plans to build 185 upscale apartments, 138,275 square feet of retail space, 152,689 square feet of office space and a 760-space parking structure.

No activity has occurred on the site since 2009 after the existing buildings, including an old Kroger store, were demolished by the developer.

City records show the property went through an ownership transfer on Dec. 12 from Lower Town Project LLC to Morningside Lower Town LLC, a company created by Chicago-based Morningside USA for the new development.

The listed sale price is $0.


The developer has unveiled tentative plans for the vacant property off Broadway Street.

Developer Ron Mucha of Morningside confirmed his company has acquired the development site and the state's retirement system no longer has any stake in the property, nor is SMRS an investor in his firm's project. He said he can't talk about the acquisition or disclose the sale price because it's confidential.

Asked why city property records list the sale price at $0, City Assessor Dave Petrak said it's likely the deed did not show a sale price.
Lower_Town_parcels_021017.jpgMLive
City records list the assessed value for eight parcels that make up the development site at $1.8 million and the land value at $3.6 million.

The developer and the state treasury department both referred questions to Clint Hinds of Bentall Kennedy, a large commercial real estate investment management firm representing the property's previous ownership.
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Hinds declined to comment other than to confirm the property has changed hands and the previous partnership is no longer involved with the site.

Leix said the state never owned the Broadway Street property, but the retirement system was invested in the partnership that owned it.

"As a limited partner and not a direct party, the SMRS typically refers all specific transaction questions to the general partner or the purchaser," Leix said.

Though the state retirement system lost money investing in the failed Broadway Village development, Leix said SMRS has more than $62 billion in assets and is diversified across many different types of investments to ensure pension growth for Michigan's retirees. During the same 10-year period, he said, SMRS has been high performing relative to peers and has realized more than $4.2 billion in excess returns in comparison to average public retirement plans.

Morningside's plans for the property include constructing three new buildings, including two apartment buildings and one condo building.

Tentatively, that includes about 286 apartments in a Phase 1 building on the north half of the site with apartments wrapped around a parking deck, about 70 condos in a Phase 2 building at the corner of Maiden Lane and Nielsen Court with its own parking, and about 250 apartments in a Phase 3 building at the corner of Broadway and Maiden Lane with a small amount of ground-floor retail.
Post Fri Feb 10, 2017 7:21 pm 
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