Thursday, May 25, 2006

Freetown Under Threat

N.B. for the latest updates, go to savefreetown.blogspot.com

The historic Freetown neighborhood in Lafayette, Louisiana is under threat. Capstone Development, a property company based in Birmingham, Alabama is proposing to build a 400 bedroom, three storey student apartment complex at the corner of Garfield and Taft Streets. The initial planning request was denied by a unanimous vote. However, Capstone are now appealing this decision to the City of Lafayette Consolidated Government Council. The hearing date is set for the 27th of June, 2006. This development threatens to radically alter the nature of the neighborhood. The purpose of this web site is to provide interested citizens with information relevant to the proposal. It also serves as a forum for community members. Please feel free to leave comments, or send useful information, either on this page in the comments section below, or send it to savefreetown@yahoo.com.

About Freetown
- Glenn Armentor's "History of Freetown and The Good Hope Hall"

- Where is Freetown? The name 'Freetown' is not an official designation. As such, there is no clearly defined boundary to the area. The name though goes back over one hundred years. Roughly, Freetown is the area of Lafayette bounded to the South by Jefferson Street, as far as Johnston Street. The Western boundary runs from Jefferson Street, along Johnston Street as far as Garfield Street. Garfield Street forms the Northern boundary of Freetown, along the railroad tracks, as far as Taft Street. The Eastern boundary runs along Taft Street, back to Jefferson Street. An illustration of this area can be found here.

About The Developers
The Developers of the proposed property, Capstone Development Corp. "...was founded in 1990 to concentrate exclusively on providing housing for college and university students", according to their web site. It is clear that Capstone Development have a very strong marketing team. As for their success in providing student housing, this can be assessed by the comments of their tenants, their Better Business Bureau ratings and the stories from the press, listed below.

- List of Other Properties

-Information on Capstone Properties:

- The timing behind this project proposal is also revealing. Recently, Congress passed The Gulf Opportunity Zone Act. The idea behind this legislation was to encourage rebuilding in the areas of the Gulf Coast that were devastated by the storms of 2005. One provision in this Act creates so-called 'Go Zones'. Lafayette falls within a Go Zone. In a Go Zone, the Act provides for a bonus depreciation of 50% on construction projects that started after August 2005 and completed by the end of 2008, according to a story in The Independent, published on the 10th of May 2005. What this means in practice for the developers is that for every $10 Million Dollars they invest, they will receive a tax credit of approximately $5.3 Million Dollars. So, if this project goes ahead, a Birmingham, AL corporation will see significant tax advantages. However, these facts also give cause for concern about the long term commitment of the company to the development.

The Issues
- Traffic
One important concern for the residents of Freetown about the proposed development, has to do with traffic issues. The proposed development is very close to not one, but two railroad crossings. These are illustrated here. It will be necessary for students living in the proposed development to cross the rail road to access the major East-West highway (I-10) and the major North-South highway (I-49/Highway 90). The increased traffic will make accidents at the railroad crossing more likely. This is a particular concern given that this State has a poor safety record with railroad crossings.

Another very important issue concerns traffic from the development itself. According to what they said at the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, the developers are under the impression that students in their proposed property will walk to the University. This assumption is incorrect. As a matter of fact, students almost always drive, due to the heat and humidity, the ever present danger of rain, the need to carry laptop computers and other expensive, water sensitive, technological devices and the desire not to arrive in class too sweaty. One of the reasons that the developers are under this delusion is because they believe that their development is a mere six blocks from the campus. Their error comes from assuming that students wish to get to Martin Hall. This though is the administration building, seldom visited by students. Most classes at UL take place Griffin Hall, which is significantly further away. The image available here illustrates the difference in distance. For these reasons then, the development is likely to dramatically increase the traffic in the streets in and around Freetown.

- Drainage
Although the area of the proposed development technically falls in the 500 year flood zone, the area is subject to significant street flooding, whenever there are heavy rains. Stewart Street, in particular, is prone to flooding, as is the corner of Taft and Garfield Streets. Although drainage issues such as this are governed by statute (La. C. C., 655, 'Natural Drainage'), this issue is a concern to Freetown residents, who may be affected by excess water. The proposed development will in all likelihood exacerbate preexisting drainage issues. As they stand, the developer's plans have no space dedicated to holding ponds. At the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, the developers made some vague comments about underground retention facilities. The drainage issue still needs to be substantially addressed.

- Intoxication
It is a well known fact that intoxication can be a problem amongst college students. For example, in a study reported by Inside Higher Education, it was noted that "...almost 30 percent of all freshmen regularly drink two times the amount of alcohol that defines traditional binge drinking." (The full story is available here). Whilst this is not a problem for all students, the location of the proposed development is such that it is likely to make it especially attractive to individuals who like to 'party'. This is because the development is close to both the McKinley Street 'Strip' and the bars Downtown which are popular with students. In fact, the location provides better access to these locations than it does to the campus! This is plainly illustrated by the image available here. The problems associated with intoxicated individuals include noise, litter, drug use, lewd behavior and a host of other social evils. Indeed, residents on Stewart Street already have to put up with some of these problems, due to their proximity to the McKinley Strip. These facts alone constitute a powerful set of reasons why the development should not be permitted.

- Long Term Impact
At the current time, the Freetown neighborhood is a relatively quiet one, with many families and children. Indeed, it is common to see children and adults riding bicycles and walking around the streets. There are even chickens that wander free, from time to time. An important question is how this state of affairs is likely to be impacted by the proposed development. There appear to be a couple of scenarios.

There can be little doubt that the addition of four hundred students to the neighborhood will produce significant effects. There are roughly 890 households in Freetown. Assuming the U.S. Census Bureau average of 2.6 individuals per household, this means that the population of Freetown can be estimated to be 2,314. Thus, if the students move in, they will be adding nearly 20% to the population. The effect of this kind of invasion is discussed in a study conducted at Penn State. The Penn State Indicators Report (2000) notes that,

"[I]t appears that the spill-over of Penn State's expanding student population [including two Capstone properties] has contributed significantly to the fragmentation of the Highlands Neighborhood...Indeed, on some streets, the family neighborhood character has ceased to exist...Approximately 45% of all the residential space in the Highlands neighborhood is now occupied by apartment buildings/townhouses or fraternities and one-third of all homes are now rental properties."

So, if this pattern is repeated in Freetown, it is likely that the nature of the neighborhood will be radically altered by the proposed development. Such an outcome seems hard to reconcile with the philosophy of so-called 'Smart Growth'.

This is not the only possible outcome though. This is because another important issue which has not been addressed is whether or not there is even the demand for such a development. Capstone Development are convinced that if they build, then students will come. They have no evidence to support this contention though. In fact, prior to the beginning of the Fall 2005 semester, there were plenty of affordable apartments and houses available for rent, close to UL. One reason for this was the opening of the Legacy Park development by UL (against which the proposed development would directly compete). Things naturally changed after the storms of 2005. However, there is no direct evidence that there has been a significant and persistent change in the underlying circumstance. This being the case, it is quite possible that there will not be sufficient demand to make the proposed development financially viable in the medium to long term.

If the proposed development is constructed and their is insufficient demand to make it pay it's way, what will then become of it? The type and layout of the proposed construction is such that it will be difficult to convert for use, for example, as condominiums. What would happen to the buildings and the surrounding neighborhood under these circumstances is radically unclear. However, what should be fairly obvious is that the consequences would not be good. Thus, this development, which is fundamentally speculative in nature, represents a potential for quick profit for the developer, but at a huge potential cost to those who live close to it. Whereas the developer will be in a position to walk away in adverse circumstances, the people of Freetown will have little choice but to shoulder the consequences.

So, it appears whatever the final outcome, the proposed development will have a detrimental effect upon Freetown. If the development is built and fills with students, then the residents of Freetown can anticipate being squeezed out of their neighborhood over time. If the development is built and is not successful, then Freetown will be blighted by a White Elephant and whatever ills that may bring. Under either scenario, the developers get their tax credits, whilst the residents of Freetown pay the real price.

21 Comments:

Blogger Professor Zero said...

Excellent. I recommend a breaking space below each heading for the links, and a comma between "Lafayette" and "Louisiana" in the blog title. I also recommend enabling that thingie which makes you type letters in order to post a comment--otherwise you'll get comments from robots.

Keep up the good work and look for Trini blogs. There is one on blogspot which is fighting the construction of ALCOA smelting plants. I met the author, who is very beautiful, and put her in touch with Mr. Bill who is also involved in this fight: it turned out that they already knew each other, but did not have each others' telephone numbers. I was thinking today that Port of Spain was like downtown Lafayette plus Freetown, if downtown Lafayette were populated with, and run by Freetown people. And a touch of New Orleans, of course, because of the port. Very homey, I must say.

7:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have got to be kidding when you suggest that the Capstone development will somehow degrade the freetown neighborhood. Let me ask the question , " What part of freetown are you trying to preserve?" Is it the freetown neighborhood drunks that hang out everyday on the corner of Stewart and Lamar. Or, the shootings from the trailer park. Maybe, the brazenly open drug dealing in the neighborhood. Everyone in Lafayette should applaud the fact that a company wants to make a multi million dollar investment in an otherwise rundown part of town. Rather than tear down the efforts of Capstone , we should be actively working with the companies architects to assure a seamless transition of existing architectural styles that complement each other. But alas, I fear the same people that oppose this development , oppose development of any kind. How short sided is that view?

4:57 PM  
Blogger Save Freetown said...

It is clear that 'anonymous' has not visited Freetown recently. Whilst there have been less than glamorous moments in recent history, Freetown is nonetheless a historic neighborhood. Had 'anonymous' taken a walk in the area, they might have noted the places on the sidewalks to tie up horses. The accusations about 'drunks' and 'drugs' are simply false.

By contrast, the developers offer little. They claim that students will walk to school. Those who currently live in the area do not. The developers wish to build a three story brick construction. Given the current buildings in Freetown, this will hardly "...assure a seamless transition of existing architectural styles...". 'Anonymous' seems to confuse an older housing stock, with the area being 'rundown'. Many of the houses in the area (the newer ones!) date from the 1930s. There are some which date back to the 17th Century. Whilst Freetown may not be River Ranch, this fact is something which people in the area cherrish. The developers wish to make a speculative investment, in which Freetown bears all the risk. Can 'anonymous' cite any evidence that there is sufficient demand for student housing in the area? Nobody, including the developers, have been able to provide any evidence of this.

It is also important for 'anonymous' to be aware that to many families, Freetown has not been home for years, but rather generations. There is a great deal of history here. By contrast, the developers appear to be motivated by Federal programs that were supposed to help Hurricane victims. They can make a lot of money, fast. If the people of Lafayette agree with 'anonymous', then they should speak out. Thus far they have been silent. There is probably a good reason for this.

In concluding, it is requested that 'anonymous' does a couple of things:

1) Actually walk through the Freetown neighborhood with open eyes and ears. Talk to people. See what they say. Uninformed opinion is easy to come by. Ignorance and stereotypes are what developers such as this gain strength from -- just as hurricanes gain strength from the Gulf of Mexico.

2) Read this site. Actually respond to the arguments and provide contradictory evidence. This would be much more useful than unfounded opinion. It would encourage informed debate. Fostering this is one of the goal of this site.

In the meantime, 'anonymous' must be thanked for sharing their views. It is a shame that they did not feel able to do so in a less clandestine manner.

2:33 AM  
Blogger Save Freetown said...

In the post above, there is a typo. 17th Century, should be 19th Century. Sorry.

3:22 PM  
Anonymous Leslie Bary said...

Anonymous, that is not a very good characterization of Freetown. See my comment on "Capstone and Facts", above.

Are you just afraid of Black people, perhaps, Anon.?

4:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Facts are facts! If you pursued the validity of my comments as diligently as you have put down capstones efforts to build there project, you would know my comments were accurate. Hang out on the corner of Stewart and Lamar in the afternoons, watch for the drinking. Call the police, there was a "crack" arrest at this corner less than 90 days ago, as for the shooting that occured in the trailer park, just ask anyone in the neighborhood. And , as far as the comment, "...are you just afraid of black people,perhaps,anon.?" PLEASE!!! Nowhere in my previous blog did I say ANYTHING about the color of ANYONE who might have perpetrated the incidents I mentioned. Don't even go there. As for walking the neighborhood, I have owned property in the area since the '90s , I know what I am talking about.

5:03 PM  
Anonymous Leslie Bary said...

So, anonymous, are you suggesting that the Capstone apartment complex will reduce drinking and drug dealing? Have you noticed what happens in college dormitories? Try reading the crime log in the _Vermilion_ - you'll see the drunk driving arrests, and the drug busts.

I've seen worse drug activity in a few middle class neighborhoods in Laf. than in Freetown. I have not seen it, but I have heard that the apartments-townhouse thingies in Ile des Cannes are great places to buy.

!!!

11:08 PM  
Blogger Save Freetown said...

Anonymous, why do you hide yourself, if you have so much knowledge? Are you allied with Fredrick and Broussard (the majority owners of the land that Capstone wish to build upon)? Leslie Bary raises a resonable point. I guess you missed the recent report from Student Monitor that, unusually 73% of students think that the most 'in' thing in college is an ipod. Only 71% said that drinking was the most 'in' thing (making it equal with Facebook). Details can be found at here

There are also some conceptual confusions in what you say. Yes, facts are facts. After all, this is Leibniz's law (A = A). However, the way facts are usually established is by offering evidence. Your claim about the people who congregate at Stewart and Lamar merely establishes that people sometimes drink beer there. People do the same at Downtown Alive. Furthermore, merely drinking beer, does not make a person a 'drunk'. The individuals you cite also play Chequers. Are there negative connotations we should infer from this too?

You mention a 3 month old 'crack' arrest. Big deal. If you read the arrest reports in The Advertiser you will find that such arrests happen all over town.

You also cite the case of the shooting on Stewart Street. Again, this does not really make a totally convincing argument. Had you followed the earlier suggestion and read this page, you would find out that the Capstone property in Lexington, KY was also the site of a shooting (see here), in addition to the case of the guy who blew his own brains out, as he was being arrested in the same property, described here.

If you have owned property in the area for so long, you will also be aware that Freetown is currently in pretty good shape. So, this leads to a question about the real reasons that can be cited to support the Capstone project? None have yet been offered (other than marketing cant). Also, is your support linked to some financial motivation? You may have owned property here, but have you lived here? Please let us know, because informed debate is the purpose of this site.

12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course , since I own property in Freetown, it is fair to say that my comments are " ...linked to some financial motivation." And, if you are a property owner in Freetown, then your involvement is also financially motivated. My motivation is to see $$$$$$ come into our community and help the overall city. The capstone project will spend about $20 million in Lafayette, that is short-term, while the increased tax base and retail opportunities are long-term. The LINC neighborhood 7 would be a wonderful place to live except for one thing. Who is going to pay for it? Not you, Professor! In fact by opposing development like Capstones, you insure there will be no excess tax base to ever fund idealistic projects , much less needed infrastructure. So, since you have challenged me , let me challenge you. Why aren't you working with the developers to insure that the project will be inclusive of everyone? Don't respond with why we don't need the project, rather , if it is coming how we can create an enviornment to co-exist peacefully?

1:37 PM  
Blogger Save Freetown said...

So, as best as anyone can tell anonymous, the difference in position arises not so much out of deeply held philosophical differences, but rather over methods to foster development and progress. You believe that that the Capstone development will provide long term benefits by expanding the tax base. If this is the real basis of your support of the Capstone project though,why did you begin by making baseless accusations about Freetown?

The tax base enhancement argument is certainly an interesting one. There are a number of points to consider though:

1) An approach was made to Kent Campbell by telephone, in order to try and get some input into their proposals. This approach was rejected out of hand by Mr. Campbell. His position was simply that, provided that they adhered to the letter of the law, then they would do whatever they could to maximize their profits. For instance, suggestions that the density of the development be reduced were rejected out of hand, as it would negatively influence the Capstone bottom line. Thus, the 'negotiate with Capstone' option has been tried, without success.

2) A necessary condition for tax base enhancement is that the project is a success. Even though repeated requests have been made, both here and elsewhere, nobody has been able to provide any evidence that there will be a demand from students for the housing Capstone hopes to provide. This condition needs to be met before the tax base enhancement argument can be accorded prima facia plausibility.

3) The money spent by Capstone during construction will only have a positive effect upon the tax base if the contractors they use are local. Some interesting evidence on this matter can be found by examining the record of legal cases Capstone has been involved in. In a case heard by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals (University Commons, Capstone development Vs. Universal Constructors, Reliance Insurance Co.), it was noted that most development by Capstone Development is undertaken by Capstone Building, a company owned 49% by Capstone Development (a .pdf of the text of this case is available here). Like Capstone Development, Capstone building is based in Birmingham. Thus, if Capstone follow their usual habit, most of the enhancements to the tax base from construction will occur in Alabama, not Lafayette.

4) The Capstone project is only one of many methods that the land in Freetown may be used to enhance the tax base of this City. The LINC plan is another option. You may be sceptical about funding the needed changes, but until such time as the management structure for the administration of the neighborhood plan are in place and people have been elected into position, it is too early to comment upon this. Indeed, the neighborhood plan has not been approved yet. The main point here is that it is a mistake to assume that Capstone is the only possible means of enhancing tax revenues from Freetown.

3:22 PM  
Anonymous A neighbor said...

"Why aren't you working with the developers to insure that the project will be inclusive of everyone?"

Anonymous, 2 questions: why these particular developers?, and this particular project? How would what they propose 'be inclusive of everyone'?

I can see working with the city on how to build and administer public housing. Or with current the owners of the property, to help them + residents finish renovating and renting/selling the houses now there.

But Capstone already has their building plan, and a whole lot of assumptions about the city and the neighborhood, and a big feeling of entitlement. I don't see a lot to work with.

One of my main questions about all of this continues to be, what happens when it doesn't rent, or empties out in the summer, or turns out to be unprofitable, and gets abandoned. I think this is a strong possibility. At that point, it will be a lot more difficult to reclaim the property for better use--all that asphalt and concrete, you know.

And now, 2 more questions.

1. You want to increase the tax base for the _city_. Where would you like to spend this money? Would you spend any of it on Freetown?

2. I don't know who you are, but do _you_ stand to make money from the Capstone project in some way?

I strongly suspect that there are other, bigger, better ways to increase the tax base.

3:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank You "Neighbor", I guess to answer the question "...why this developer?" Because they are the ones proposing the project, and the last time I checked there wasn't anyone else willing to invest over $20million in Freetown. "... How would what they propose be inclusive of everyone?" well , this project nor any others could be inclusive of everyone. But, until both sides make the effort we will never know how close either side can come to getting what they want. All I know in this regard is that Development is not all bad.
As far wondering what will happen when it doesn't all rent , or empties out for the summer, or turns out not to be profitable. I don't know if you are aware of this or not , but Capstone is one of the originators of off-campus student housing. They wrote the book on it. Belive me, if they are willing to invest their money, they feel confident that it will not fail. Furthermore, as far as it being empty, based on their other projects , I know I personally never had a housing option this nice when I was in college. And, so what if it fails, if it does and it goes into receivership, the investors in this town will flip over each other trying to buy it up. So, if your fears are that it will turn into a run-down ramshackle place, NO WAY. Think of Freetown like this: UL is a square, with the "Saints St" on one side , Arbolata on one side , and the "presidents st.s" on the other. Have you seen the price of housing on those sides of UL ? Why doesn't this side of the square command those same "high" prices for what is essentially the same profile of home? It can, and it will , and it will do it without losing its place in Lafayette history. Just like the other sides of the square have retaiined their history. Albeit , with a modern flair. Because life going forward is all about change. And Freetown will change.
Your next 2 questions about "...Where I would like to see the increase in the tax base spent?" I personally believe in taking care of yourself first and then helping others with what is left over. So, I would have money derived from an area, put back into that area , first , then the rest go into infrastructure improvements for our entire city. To answer your question, Yes! I stand to make money from the Capstone Project. Because, when it comes into Freetown , it will spur other compatible development, and maybe one of those other developers will want to buy my property, or yours. And when that happens , it creates demand, and demand will drive up the value of property and what my property is worth then will be higher than what it is worth now and I welcome that day. And Neighbor if you own property in and around Freetown, guess what , you stand to see an increase in its value if the Capstone project goes through Too!
As far as your closing comment that there are other bigger , better ways to increase the tax base. I doubt it. If you look at the opening blog, "Professor Zero" mentions a website which is fighting an Alcoa smelting plant. So the inference can be drawn that a smelting plant is commercial use and Capstone is residential use. The real "Philosophy" :) behind this blog spot is Anti-development of any type, and if you oppose commercial and residential development , quite frankly ,it doesn't leave a whole lot of room for any other types of development.

5:33 PM  
Blogger Professor Zero said...

Anonymous said:

'If you look at the opening blog, "Professor Zero" mentions a website which is fighting an Alcoa smelting plant. So the inference can be drawn that a smelting plant is commercial use and Capstone is residential use. The real "Philosophy" :) behind this blog spot is Anti-development of any type, and if you oppose commercial and residential development , quite frankly ,it doesn't leave a whole lot of room for any other types of development.'

That is ridiculous. I am Professor Zero, not Save Freetown. If you want to know what is happening in Trinidad, I can give you some references. This blogspot is about Freetown and Lafayette. Me, I love big, bustling cities, and developed economies. Put me in New York, Sao Paulo, etc., and I'm happy. I also believe in civic responsibility and public space. Industries which ruin local economies and spirit profits out of the country (ALCOA in Trinidad), are NOT positive development. Nor is the addition of a tacky apartment complex to Freetown for your financial benefit,
'development' - it's under- development or de-development, if you'll permit me to invent a term.

11:32 AM  
Blogger Save Freetown said...

In his/her latest post, 'Anonymous' provides us with a good deal of insight into his/her views and motivation. First off, Anonymous is a fan of Capstone because "they are the ones proposing the project", whilst nobody else is. The logic behind this inference is astonishing. If Anonymous' sister or daughter was engaged to be married to a violent, criminal, junkie, would anonymous approve of the marriage, if there were no other suitors? From the argument offered in the recent post, it would seem natural to conclude that he/she would! This is far from reassuring.

On the question of the inclusiveness of the proposed project, Anonymous tells us that it is necessary that "both sides make the effort". Anonymous clearly missed the previous post in which the approach made to Capstone was described, including the part where it was Capstone who refused to 'make the effort'. Try, try your best, but fail, what more can be done? On a related point, anonymous notes that "development is not all bad". Nobody has claimed this. The position articulated here is that THIS development is bad.

It also appears that Anonymous has fallen for Capstone's propaganda, when he/she claims that "Capstone is one of the originators of off-campus student housing. They wrote the book on it." Anyone who attended college in the 1980s and lived in off-campus housing will have first hand evidence that this claim is false. Capstone were only formed in 1990! There has been off-campus housing available to students for a lot longer than this. After all, universities as we know them today were developed during the medieval period. Where does Anonymous think that students lived in previous Centuries? Anonymous also believes that Capstone's other projects (and presumably their 'artists impressions' of the one they propose for Freetown) provide evidence of how good their project will be. Clearly anonymous has not read the comments from Capstone tenants. They are not happy with what Capstone has to offer. Indeed, the Eugene OR property is recommended by 0.0% of the tenants (in addition to being rated 'Unsatisfactory' by the Better Business Bureau)! Given that Anonymous has ignored the facts, it is clear that his/her opinion should be given little weight. Anonymous also believes that if Capstone wants to invest, then there must be a demand for this student housing. Whilst such blind faith is touching, it does not inspire confidence. Anonymous must have over-looked the financial incentive to Capstone from the Gulf Opportunity Zone Act.

The fear that the Capstone development will end up as a White Elephant is also rejected by Anonymous, on the grounds that "investors in this town will flip over each other trying to buy it up". If that really is the case, then why is Anonymous not prepared to wait for these 'investors' to propose a more sensible project than the palpably unsuitable one proposed by Capstone?

Anonymous also gives us some 'unusual' insights into both geometry and local geography in this post. According to Anonymous "UL is a square, with the 'Saints St' on one side , Arbolata on one side , and the 'presidents st.s' on the other." The fact that most squares have four sides notwithstanding, it also appears that Anonymous is confused about the location of Freetown. The so-called 'President's Streets' lie between Freetown and UL. This inconvenient fact rather undercuts Anonymous' 'insights' about relative property values. As for the exact details of how Freetown is supposed to retain it's history, "albeit, with a modern flair", Anonymous gives us no information.

Perhaps the key insight from Anonymous' most recent post though comes from his/her statement that "Yes! I stand to make money from the Capstone Project." In other words, Anonymous is just another greedy property speculator, like Capstone. Anonymous' motivation in supporting Capstone is simply financial. This is rather disappointing. It seems that Dollar signs have blinded Anonymous to the virtues of history and tradition. Indeed, it seems that Anonymous favors the selling of property in the neighborhood for future student uses. This, of course, is just the attitude which lead to the destruction of the Highland neighborhood, described in the Penn State Indicator Report (2000), which is both cited and quoted from in the main body of the Save Freetown page. Now, we appear to have the fundamental explanation for the reason that Anonymous began by making false claims about Freetown in order to support the Capstone Project. It is also worth noting that Anonymous did not respond to the question of whether or not he/she had connections with Fredrick and Broussard.

Anonymous concludes his/her post with the following claim, "The real 'Philosophy' :) behind this blog spot is Anti-development of any type, and if you oppose commercial and residential development , quite frankly ,it doesn't leave a whole lot of room for any other types of development." The first point to make here is that this claim is incorrect. Whilst this blogspot page opposes inappropriate development, like the one proposed by Capstone, it is not opposed to any development. For example, the idea that the land be used for a park, as suggested by the LINC neighborhood plan, or even for residential development of a less intrusive and high density kind are both fully supported. So, on this final point, like so many others, Anonymous is just wrong.

6:43 PM  
Anonymous That pesky neighbor said...

No neighborhood plan = another Johnston Street.

This may be nice for Anonymous, who may own property in Freetown, but does not appear to live there.

How nice is it for the town of Lafayette?

Advocates of 'smart growth' are looking at cities such as Portland, OR, which has grown and does grow, and which supports a good deal of industry ... and where new housing has been built recently. Growth does not have to mean blight.

9:23 PM  
Anonymous Leslie Bary said...

Anonymous said:

"I personally believe in taking care of yourself first and then helping others with what is left over. So, I would have money derived from an area, put back into that area , first , then the rest go into infrastructure improvements for our entire city. To answer your question, Yes! I stand to make money from the Capstone Project. Because, when it comes into Freetown , it will spur other compatible development, and maybe one of those other developers will want to buy my property, or yours."

So:
a. you believe in 'trickle down',
b. you aren't necessarily interested in reinvesting in Freetown itself,
c. you want not just this apartment complex, but other, similar ones, rather than the historic structures which are there
?

11:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good luck! I am going to be busy for a "few" weeks. :)

10:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Should Freetown property owners attend the City Council meeting on July 10 where Capstone will ask to build the additional 70 units?

9:24 AM  
Anonymous entrepanalysis said...

Dear Freetown discussion,
Money, social factors, student needs etc. All are important considerations for developing a project such as this.

Looking at the location - it seems that it will be bounded on three sides by commercial activity. - what is the 4th side - low cost housing. This area is no longer what it used to be and should be used for development and in my opinion if it were to help students then even better.

Why can I say the area has changed - Most of the 4th side was where I played as a child at my Great- Grandfathers house and business - all gone now with generational changes. But as a child we used to pick figs and pears in our yard surrounded by hugh oak trees - we would sell pears by the bushel at the end of our driveway. My Great-grandfather's business was the first plumbing company to install indoor plumbing for houses in Lafayette.

My family goes back 6 generations in Lafayette - my family owned the property for many years. After the death of my grandfather we let the property go.

This property is not Freetown - and can't be claimed as part of history other than the families who owned and lived on the property. And I believe student housing is a great use for the land.

10:30 PM  
Anonymous Jacob said...

I am trying to do some research on Freetown and Port-Rico. If anyone knows where I might find resources it would be of great help. Thank you.

4:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

FUCK Freetown, nothing but fake ass hipsters, Fightinvile baby!

10:40 AM  

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