Saturday, May 31, 2008

Not going down without some noise in the Noiseless Typewriter Building debate

It's most recently known as the Remington-Rand building, and it's the site of some important Middletown industrial history, and national labor history.

After some questions were raised and resolved about his reputation, Middletown's Economic Development Committee has recommended that the award for sale and development of the building go to Thomas Briggs, who has restored the Piano Factory building in Essex.

However, Evan Blum, a well-known and well-regarded dealer in architectural restoration circles, and owner of Irreplaceable Artifacts, and another bidder for the factory, is not going down without a fight.

In a letter to the Common Council, which he also released to the press, Blum makes his case. Below is the letter in full. The disposition of the factory will be discussed and voted on at Monday's Common Council meeting.

It has become quite apparent that my proposal and intentions have not been properly understood. It will be a travesty to you and to us if I do not get this space. My proposal and ideas clearly leave the city much further ahead, and the fact that you look the other way is completely mind-boggling and most troubling.

Within 30 days of the sale, I will have the building fully occupied and will be bringing a number of new businesses to the town. One of the new businesses that I am going to set up is a window factory to replicate extinct wooden windows for historic buildings. In fact, the first customer is me. There are several hundred windows that need to be replicated in that building alone and we will manufacture them right there. Why wouldn’t you want that?
After that project is completed, I have five other buildings that need repair and replication and several clients of mine want their buildings done also. That alone would create five years worth of work and at least six full time jobs or more. The other new businesses that will take place at this space include a film archiving company. They will employ approx. 6 full time and part time employees.

Then, there is my own business. It will be a significant retail establishment that people will travel from all over the world to visit and that addition will create approx. 17 new jobs. My business, at present, contributes to approximately $200,000 that is spent in town at other businesses. If I get the Remington Building, this will, at the very least, triple.
I have been restoring old buildings for 36 years, and I will restore this building more appropriately than anyone else, as it is my business.

This building will be restored incorporating the following:

1. Securing it properly and providing 24 hour security
2. Making it watertight
3. Landscaping it to improve its appearance – remove all debris and do extensive planting

4. Re-lighting the whole building with authentic lighting

5. Addressing the mechanical systems

What gets me is that I have the most unique business in town, which greatly improves the reasons for people to come to Middletown. I actually bring in a good, wealthy crowd, so why am I not being treated fairly? The city should be working with me with a vested interest. I am a business that is in desperate need to expand and I am being ignored. I guess no one cares. Is that so? It certainly seems that way.
Remember when the city spent so much time, money and effort to get the Goodspeed to Middletown? If you only put a small fraction of that effort towards me, I will do more for Middletown that the Goodspeed ever would have. I clearly see that you do not have a grasp of what I am all about and what I can do. You are about to make a poor decision and I will have to move out of town.

Given the unfavorable position I was put in, I did not have the luxury of going out and documenting all of the support for this that I have and can get, which is more significant that the competing offer. Speaking of competing offers, if he was allowed to adjust his bid upward after the fact to top mine, why can’t I do the same?

I will up my offer to $1.5 million. Now, the city will yield a much higher net amount – no deductions for brokers’ fees, which will still put your net amount less than my previous offer. That should put the city ahead about $400,000.

What do I have to do to convey what the merits of going with me are? What don’t you understand? I ask anyone with any questions to e-mail me back immediately so I can clear up any doubts before an uninformed decision and vote occurs.
Why is it so important to vote away your best deals/talent so fast? Why don’t you vote to put it off for a while until you get the opportunity to really understand how I outweigh anything else that you have?

If this does not happen for me after all the hard work and money that I spent in Middletown, why would you want me to seek space in another municipality and that another municipality will get my business and get that benefit by me moving there. You will most likely have some ordinary replacement or vacancy happen in my place on main street if we move.
Would you really want me to move all my business out of the Remington building that I occupy and my building on Main street?

I am also flexible in the fact that I can close in the next budget year and that will also give you time to do the proper due diligence and see that I am still the best suitor for Middletown’s best interest and that building. Either way a transition should be seamless. Please consider putting this off for another day when all these issues can be better looked into.

Yours Truly,
Evan Blum-Irreplaceable Artifacts

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