Mayor Doug Palmer and Councilman John Ungrady have made statements on the record that the ARTWORKS crisis is over. We have no clear information on this and so a parsing we will go.
Looking back at the Leewood Village development proposal, we recall that it was allowed to fade away, after civic opposition, without an official death certificate being issued from City Hall. This sets a pattern for understanding HHG's plans for ARTWORKS. We should not expect any more information than we currently have - unless the local papers pursue this.
Through Ungrady we learned that the city believed the ARTWORKS property to be encumbered such that ARTWORKS could not be evicted in favor of HHG. The councilman told an audience that HHG's deal was dead
.We then heard from Mayor Palmer
, in another offhand remark, that "I think Artworks can rest easy right now." This comment followed one that he was working with the developer.
It seems that a certain reading of the ARTWORKS sale provisions had been agreed on between the council and the mayor and that the reading was adverse to HHG's options. It would further seem that the mayor consoled HHG in their loss. That leaves us with the cryptic comment at the end of the phrase, "I think Artworks can rest easy right now
Why right now
? There are a few possibilities:
(1) The city attorneys are examining the strength of the original sale stipulations in case of court challenge. They may decide the stipulations pose no threat to the city's sale of the building.
(2) The mayor wants a developer other than HHG to have this property.
(3) The administration is preparing a take-it-or-leave-it alternate site offer for ARTWORKS.
(4) The phrase "right now" means "I am keeping my options open but have no plans."
(5) The phrase "right now" means nothing and is just verbal clutter.
I think we have a Leewood situation - a deal is dead, it will probably not be revived. I think HHG's interaction with the mayor had this same lack of finality - a door being left open, a possibility alive, some ambiguous talk.
The people who can end the suspense are the development partners. They can renounce the project, declare it a mistake, tell us they've moved on. It would be fine gesture, mending fences with an outraged arts community while letting the city off the hook.Why not, gentlemen?