Is commercial real estate "public property" or does it belong to the investors who paid for it?
I'm somewhat of a history buff, I love to watch the History channel and old movies. I study various events and I always try to relate what we see today with what we have seen in the past.
Tried and true is the adage that there is nothing new under the sun; Ecclesiastes 1:9-14.
Today's example is so glaring I'm shocked that someone smarter than me did not see it first. Over the past few months the usual suspects (KC Star, Tony's Kansas City and other various liberal groups) have been on the attack over a building proposed for the Plaza District of Kansas City.
What surprised me is to see the likes of Darla Jaye being sucked into the fray as a detractor of the new development. Seemingly the only one who had a sensible take on this was Chris Stigall in his column for the Platte County Landmark. Stigall points out that they own the property and can do with it as they wish, weather it is in poor taste or not. However, he ties it to the Mosque debate in New York which I argue is balderdash!
Three thousand people were not killed on The Plaza by a group of radical attorneys!
The new building as designed by architects for Polsinelli and Shughart is a stunning example of glass and steel, much like the tax-payer funded monstrosities the city has recently added to the Kansas City skyline.
I really hadn't been too interested in the whole debate, although I had wanted to talk about it in my position as The Kansas City Real Estate Examiner.
Until one evening when I was watching an old black and white classic copy of Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead when it hit me... Oh My God, it's them! It's the collectivist the same ones who hated Howard Roark; An uncompromising, visionary architect struggling to maintain his integrity and individualism despite personal, professional and economic pressures to conform to popular standards!
Then I looked at the photographic evidence! (unable to use these photos on Examiner)
The parallels were amazing!
The architect had designed something of brilliance, a monument to the success of the entrepreneurs who had endeavored to overcome all obstacles, who even in this bleak economy were planning on expansion.
They (the collectivists) saw it and they hated them for it! They hated them for their success, they hated them for their chosen profession, they hated them even more for not allowing them to have a say in their building!
Highwoods properties had acquired The Plaza in 1998; since then they have poured in excess of 50 million dollars into it.
Interestingly a competitor is quoted as saying;
“It’s almost like a public utility and everybody has a say in how it ought to be run. People look at it as a public place rather than something privately owned as an investment vehicle.”
How ironic to find a quote like that in The Kansas City Star; it sounds strikingly akin to what you would expect Ellsworth Toohey, or Gail Wynand to write in The Banner.
Even The Pitch weighed in, one of the most radically leftist publications in the Metro; stating that the proposed building is "too big and ugly"! Citing a letter from the (AIA) American Institute or Architects, who came to the "consensus of opinion" that the building "needs to be significantly reconsidered".
As we often see with the collectivists, consensus; provided it fits their agenda, always takes precedent over private property rights, or in the case of global warming... actual science.
I guess we will see if the architects submit to the demands of the collectivists or if they stick to their principles and build their own damn building.