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Comments

C. Briem

TIF and abatements are very different things on a whole lot of levels. Lumping everything into the same pot may be the biggest problem with this debate. You may note that in the trib version of the story even the AI says an abatement may be a good thing... By your logic Jake H. now likes Downtown focused TIF's. Ha.

Sam M

When I said I was asking, I was not being disingenuous. I really was asking. Both deal with housing. Both deal with tax breaks. So there are clearly some similarities. But ff it is not six of one and a half dozen of another, I am more than happy to accept that. I was simply wondering.

C. Briem

Superficial similarities more than anything. You really may force me to write on this topic. If you think that, others probably do as well, but certainly not the people who hate TIFs in town. I still can’t stop laughing at the (fictitious) image it conjured up of Jake, maybe Colin M with him, going down to see Jim Rohr and offering a mea culpa, apologizing for his opposition to TIF’s and even thanking PNC for using a TIF.

I suppose I now have to explain.

TIFs. The essence of a TIF is that you need to create a very narrowly defined TIF district. By the time that happens you can rest assured that the project that is being proposed is well defined and just about everyone who will benefit from deal knows who they are, and as a corollary those who know they will not benefit know that as well. Thus the decision to create a TIF or not becomes a decision to help a very specific set of people/firms/developers/etc.

An abatement in itself, even if defined narrowly to just one neighborhood, does not begin to interfere with market competition in any similar way. Any and all competitors are free to make use of an abatement and they compete against each other just as they always have. Collectively they will have greater incentive to invest, but there is no special treatment for any one of them. Thus at a philosophical (political?) level you have apples and oranges and why some oppose TIF’s out of the blocks. From a standpoint of free market economics it just not the same. period.

Then there is this little issue of the (F)inancing part of a TIF. The other big part of a TIF is that said project needs actual cash from the government to help pay for it. The TIF district is needed because technically it floats a bond, the proceeds going into this specific project and only this specific project. In essence paying for part of what is otherwise a commercial project. For others, this direct payment is the most objectionable part of the entire deal. Go find Jim Rohrs picture in the Trib everyday for that perspective. But again comparing this to abatements there are no abatement districts that float any bonds, no direct payments to any project or developer. Put another way, without the financing the government does not subsume any of the risk that is inherent in an investment decision.

Then there are those support the idea of TIF’s in concept but often disagree with the decisions of which projects get TIF’s and which do not. Should a TIF be used for a retail project and questions like that. Again for abatements it is not really even an issue since there is no choosing between those eligible and those who are not within the area defined. I myself would even argue against narrowing an abatement to any select group of neighborhoods. If it makes sense to do in one neighborhood it makes sense to do in others. If you take that to its extreme a property tax abatement on new investment comes close to being a land tax.

But if you have some other criteria by which you can classify TIF’s and abatements as the same thing it might be worth sharing. They are indeed both policies that mostly affect property taxes.. thus if you are just opposed to taxes then your question just does not matter right?

Abby Wilson

I agree that abatements for properties downtown alone might help developers more than middle and lower -income home owners. Patrick Dowd, City Council candidate, put a framework for expanding incentives and abatements to residential properties across the 7th Council District over the weekend. He proposes a package of abatements and incentives, a pre-development fund for community groups, and public-private partnerships. "Beyond Demoltion" was released on Sunday and is available at www.dowdforpittsburgh.org. If people have particular suggestions about how Patrick might build on the ideas contained in the report, please email patrick@dowdforpittsburgh.org.

Mark Rauterkus

Just watched the post agenda in City Council about the Peduto downtown tax abatement plan. I have reserved judgement -- not going just from the newspapers' early coverage.

It is a step in the right direction on a few fronts. But, it is very bad in others.

Extensive talks are needed on this topic.

Check the Peduto web page in the week to come for the plan and nine pages of legislative text.

Sam M

Chris,

Thanks for taking the time to clarify. This is all good stuff. As for:

"They are indeed both policies that mostly affect property taxes.. thus if you are just opposed to taxes then your question just does not matter right?"

I guess the concern, from a political standpoint, is just what you mention: If you limit this to one neighborhood, then you are, in effect, picking winners and losers in the tax game. Which is obviously inevitable. But in this case, who wins and who loses? Seems we are lowering (or, actually, eliminating) property taxes for certain people. In this case, "those people" are people who can afford to live in Pittsburgh's most expensive neighborhood. The people not privy to this break are those living in the wrong neighborhoods, and those unlikely to build new homes. Namely, people with less money. Again, that might be good for all involved if this generates enough "revitalization." But sometimes these plans, er, end up really sucking.

So I am not asking my questions as someone who opposes taxes on principal, but as someone interested in studying who will benefit from this plan, who will not benefit (at least in the short term) and who is going to take one in the hind quarters.

My preference would be the same as yours--skip the whole neighborhood selection thing. If abatements work, spread the wealth. And eliminate the perception that you are selecting some neighborhoods as winners and some as losers.

Seems to me that Mayor Ravenstahl has anticipated some of this. He stresses that his project is not just for downtown, but for 20 neighborhoods. And there is even some stuff directed at middle-class folks. But if you read the whole article, you find out that only about 50 people can take advantage of that aspect of the program. Why the limit? Why not limit the benefit to the first 50 millionaires who come asking, too? I am not much of a class warrior. But these seem like fair questions. Especially since the city isn't exactly swimming in cash at the moment. That is, this seems like an odd time for a tax cut unless you are a pretty doctrinaire libertarian or an avowed supply-sider. And I don't think either of those labels applies to local officials.

It also seems that the reporters were not all that convinced of the broader aim of the program. This seems pretty clearly aimed at downtown. All the mayor's caveats aside. That seems important.

Which leads to the question. Is this, in the end, the kind of thing that will really benefit "any and all competitors"? Or, allow me to rephrase: It seems that not all competitors are created equal. Particularly with regard to downtown, where the URA and other official-type agencies own so much of the property. With a TIF, the city picks the winners by awarding the actual TIFs. But with abatements, they can still pick the winners by choosing to whom they are going to sell.

An enormous example coming up might be the Civic Arena. (I stress the "might." A lot of technicalities might negate what I am about to say. But I am trying to think it through out loud.) There is a lot that might be done with that once the new arena is built. If the city (or the stadium authority or whoever) auctions the old arena off to the highest bidder, then I agree. Any and all competitors can take advantage of an abatement. (If it ends up applying to that part of town. I am not sure that it does. But let's assume it does.) But as we have all seen, the city does not seem keen on auctioning off properties. It seems more eager to choose which plans it likes. Regardless of whom is willing to pay what.

So, it seems that the city, at least in the cases in which it is selling properties, still selects who gets the abatements.

But again, this is mostly just baseless musing on my part. (As usual.) I am open to any and all interpretations. Especially ones arrived at after more info is available. For now, there seems to be some good things going on here. Again, I am particularly glad to see Mr. Peduto setting a few cold, hard, measurable goals.

The thing that is causing me to muse so recklessly is the whole idea of limiting these things to certain neighbrhoods. Particularly when the neighborhood that seems destined to benefit most is the same one at the center of all the other development plans. TIFs. Grants. Casinos. Arenas. Stadiums. Skyscrapers. Etc.

And thanks to Abby for pointing out that a few other people might also be concerned that the policies in question might eventually benefit the same select few who continue to benefit from these things.

Mark Rauterkus

Bob O'Connor was NOT in favor of abatements. Bill Peduto is. My fear is that Luke is going to just follow and match what Peduto is trying to do.

I, like O'Connor, am not in favor of the abatements either.

There was a lot of hype about tipping points and how our downtown is smaller, so it would be nice to see this come on as a real opportunity that developers could seize. Blah, blah, blah. Well, my first suggestion as a constructive request to Peduto is to make certain that his plan only lasts for 3 year.

Sure, give the 10-year, 100% abatement (gosh that is way, way, too much). But, only offer it for those that buy and spend (all / some) in 2007, 2008 and 2009. Then -- poof. End it. Close the window of opportunity. If the tipping point is so near, if our town's size is such -- it should not last for 10 years.

Second tip: I HATE the fact that the Pgh Tech Park on Second Ave is a part of this abatement zone. What the heck! They already got a TIF. They already got subsidized parking garages. Don't give them anything additional.

C. Briem

Don't give them anything additional.

I have to admit I ask this just out of curiousity.. but who exactly do you define as "them"..

C. Briem

this seems like an odd time for a tax cut unless you are a pretty doctrinaire libertarian or an avowed supply-sider

fair enough and that would be the crucial issue if this were a city that had a lot of residential investment going on. The idea is that the abatement is affecting the new investment, not tax on the current property base. Still, why give up that future incremental tax revenue via an abatement? I would say that for an abatement on new investment to result in lower tax revenues, there has to be some anticipated investment in the pipeline. The thing about the City of Pittsburgh is that these downtown projects not withstanding, the aggregate amount of residential investment across the city is reaching some all time lows. Thus you are not giving up that much by offering abatements on new tax increments that just are not there..

Mark Rauterkus

At the top of my head, here is a list (of them) that I'd rather not give away tax breaks to when talking about the extension of the downtown zone for abatement:

Them = takers from the present and recent past. Two tifs have already occurred here. No significant accounting has been reported upon. Those that have gotten breaks need to pull their weight now, not at the end of the day a decade from now.

Them, when talking about Second Ave Technology Park (not its real name), = no RESIDENTS. The intent is to generate downtown housing, mostly.

Them = Parking Garage Owners

Them = URA Deal Makers

Them = Nonprofits

Them = an oil company

Them = a public utility monopoly

Them = Riverfront Property Owners

Them = Sprawl makers within the city. This is non-neighborhood slop development that could be suburban Dallas or any of another 4,000 spots.

Them = Served by autos, nearly as an exclusive.

Them = places where infrastructure and new road investments were made. Nothing is holding them back now -- other than the (OMG) Mon Valley Toll Road, perhaps. We have infrastructure sprouting leaks all over the place.

Sam M

Chris,

In one of your comments, regarding the wisdom of issuing a tax cut at this time, (and a selective tax cut at that) you wrote:

"fair enough and that would be the crucial issue if this were a city that had a lot of residential investment going on."

But if you believe what officials are saying, there IS a lot of residential development going on. At least in some places. Go back and read the stories about downtown and what a success it is becoming. About how Piatt Place and the PNC tower and all the rest are amounting to Renaissance III, or whatever esle it is they are calling it. And take a look at who and what are getting the credit. It's these policies. It's the URA. It's forward looking public-private partnerships. It's WORKING. At least downtown. It's becoming VIBRANT. It's HIP. Best damn thing since sliced sex.

So if the abatements are best directed at places where residential investment isn't happening, don't all the current projects indicate that if anything, downtown should be the only place the abatements SHOULDN'T apply?

But then take a look at what Ravenstahl had to say in that original PG article:

"It's not just Downtown Pittsburgh," the mayor said. "It's 20 other communities throughout Pittsburgh that have been neglected."

Neglected? Downtown Pittsburgh has been NEGLECTED? My god, that is just a jaw-dropping statement. When you count up the TIFs and the subsidies and the stadiums and all the rest--and when you look at what has been going on down there since the 1940s--to call downtown NEGLECTED?

Or is Ravenstahl ready to admit that all that attention hasn't worked? I bet not.

Man. I could go on and on. And probably will eventually. (Sorry.) But for now, it seems that this is a tax cut aimed primarily at developers building high-end condos in the downtown corridor. In my mind, that is just about the strongest residential market in the city, where a whole lot of the building is going on. A situation that seems to have been brought about, at least in part, by a lot of government support.

So if this whole program is based on the idea that the high-end condo market has heretofore been neglected, that seems strange.

And if abatements seem to be good ideas because they encourage development where none is currently happening, it seems strange to focus it on the downtown area.

So... I am not saying abatements are a bad idea, per se. But it just doesn't seem to make sense to limit them to one or a few neighborhoods. And if you INSIST on limiting, it seems like the first neighborhood to be eliminated should be the downtown neighborhood. Because it hasn't in fact, been more neglected than other city neighborhoods. And more development is going on there than elsewhere.

Unless, of course, you envision the abatements as tax cuts for a few developers focusing on the Forbes-Fifth corridor, instead of envisioning them as broad incentives for "any and all competitors."

Sam M

Last, take a look at this from the article:

"The tax breaks would aid not only developers but also people who buy the units."

And later, look at this:

"By allowing homeowners to receive the abatement, the mayor's plan taps into a crucial aspect of the Downtown housing market, the growth of condominiums alongside rental units, said Aaron Stauber, principal of Rugby Realty. 'The dynamics of our city are such that most of the developments that you would pencil in would be condominium developments,' he said."

But isn't it true that condo owners already have a substantial advantage in terms of property taxes? I thought we discussed that here before. I might be wrong. But if I am not, this seems strange. Do condo owners deserve even MORE advantageous tax treatments? Maybe so. But I think you have to make a good argument for that. Especially since they already seem to enjoy some advantages. And especially since the people who are building the condos have already gotten so much support. And especially since these people are some of the richest people in the city. And especially since the city is broke.

So again, maybe abatements are still a good idea. But doesn't it seem like downtown would be the last neighborhood, not the first, to need them?

Sam M

Chris,

That Trib article you mention is also quite interesting. I am particularly intrigued by this:

"The estimate is that half of the income that is produced by these people moving back into the city will put about $90 million back into the economy," said the mayor's spokesman, Dick Skrinjar. The proposal assumes that 270 units will be created each year through 2022, "and two-thirds of those, it's expected, will be people who do not currently live in the city," he said.

Two thirds from outside the city? Now we are getting somewhere. But are officials really just "assuming" this? They just "expect" it? Or ar ethey basing it on something? What?

I am ecstatic to see officials setting measurable benchmarks. But is this just out of their wazoo? I have been asking all along where the residents might come from. So this is a step in the right direction. But not if it's just a magical number that makes the proposals work better on paper.

Anyone know if it's based on anything?

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/cityregion/s_493106.html

John Morris

I think that the current breakdown of people moving downtown was one source of info. The number sounds high, but if one includes both people moving into the region and moves from the suburbs it seems possible. I will readily admit that there has to be some competition with existing stuff but the chances that these people were looking at Homewood is pretty slim.

The point you are making about the amounts already invested in the downtown is pretty off the mark. Yes, enourmous amounts have been spent, but when you ask yourself how much money or effort has been put into the things that are actually likely to attract residents the numbers go way down. Heinz field is a zero as as far as a city amenity since so few games are played. The convention center also is of little benefit to downtown residents. PNC park is of some use, but not likely worth it's cost or the land it occupies. The new arena falls close to that category--in fact the parking fetish dilutes any benefit people living nearby have over non residents. Any subsidised parking falls into a reason not to live in the city as does most of the highway spending.

The theater restorations, general cleanup of the riverfront and the little bit of riverfront park are about all that cn be claimed as major benefits. One could throw in the Warhol and stuff done by the cultural trust, but that's about it.

John Morris

PNC's office Building - in an area already glutted with them is also more likely than not to have a negative effect on the Downtown housing market since it will occupy prime land that otherwise could be used for housing and; more importantly add to the number of commuters that going to have drive in and waste more land on parking.

John Morris

A close look at the history of NY would be helpful in pointing out one of the major problems here. I know it annoys people, but the story relates and brings up the basic problem and it’s solution.
Here’s the problem as it was brought up in another post.

“And when a core has been neglected, often the only way to encourage development is to take the risk out of big projects. That's especially true in older cities, where office leases and apartment rental prices are low, but construction costs are still high. Subsidies and credits for Millcraft, for example, means there's a better chance that the company will turn a profit on its Fifth and Forbes improvement project.”

The point is that to take an area from no development to stuff that can cover a developer’s high costs is really hard. The area doesn’t offer enough benefits that rich people will pay for yet to justify the huge investment.

Here’s how the problem was settled in NY-- people just broke the dumb laws and transformed the areas gradually.

Soho, for example was a desolate underused factory district. Artist’s and craft businesses moved in, using the “we are manufacturers” loophole. Since most of them were too broke to afford a separate place to live, they started squatting and doing gradual (illegal) renovations often with the owners consent. After a while the city gave in and sanctioned what had happened because it was obviously a good thing. Then the city said that only artists could live in the area, which led to a corrupt boom in Wall Street Sunday painter types. Finally, after more than twenty years, the city gave up and turned the area fully residential/ mixed use. ( at which point, the artists were kicked out ) That trend happened again in places like Williamsburg, Long Island City and DUMBO and in cities like Providence, R. I. and is now a well known game. Now, these areas are popular enough to pay for fancy private construction.

One core problem in Pittsburgh is that this is not allowed to happen here. The city insists on doing a father knows best transition that skips all the normal stops. When, I talk to people- the downtown area comes up as place that a very large number of people would like to live in but very few can afford too. The root problem is the high cost of getting units up to fancy building codes using union labor. That's why one needs sugar on top.

John Morris


Here's a link to an article that gives a quick history of the urban loft trend. http://www.bhg.com/bhg/story.jhtml?storyid=/templatedata/bhg/story/data/Loftsfactsheet_03182004.xml&catref=bcat49&page=2

"The History of Loft Residences
Lofts originated in Paris in the mid 19th century as artists' ateliers. The oversized paintings of the time required expansive high-ceilinged studios -- the first lofts.
Loft space originally came to the United States in the early 20th century as storage warehouses near shipping ports in New York and Boston.
As early as the 1940s, some of New York's abandoned loft spaces in SoHo (South of Houston Street) were being populated by starving artists.
By the 1970s, SoHo had full-floor loft spaces that were being renovated and transformed from commercial to residential properties. Since this was technically a commercial zone, 92 percent of these residences were illegal. However, the sheer number of new residents forced the city to rezone the area and allow the buildings to be converted to apartments.
This trend spread from New York's SoHo to other urban areas around the country over the next 20 years. "

It say's that 92% of residential lofts in Soho were illegal!!! That gives one some idea of how much help the city provided to the process.


C. Briem

for Mark I just have to say that is quite a list: non-profits, utilities, energy companies, the URA, all riverfront property owners and parking garages. I think you have excluded about all economic activity within the city though, which could be a problem. I suppose that could be the point though.

as for all the rest. I am not sure I can even try to address all of that. but again, I think you are sometimes too literal with the press and media. I don't think anyone is saying there is some huge resurgence or residential development across the city. It is quite true that the residential development downtown is both a lot and truly unprecedented for Downtown, though that does not say much given how little residential there has been there for so long. So its fair for the powers that be to make note of that and its even fair for them to be hopeful that this is all a positive sign for the future. Even I am not so cynical to argue against that.

but really. Downtown is one very geographically constrained neighborhood and in itself it can't ever offset loss of housing and population across the city and by most any measure housing construction across the city is at some all time lows. I think everyone knows that.

What really is curious is just how emotional and misconstrued the debates over downtown become, it's one of the real hot button issues in the city/region. It may be counterintuitive, but I think some of that is a reflection of just how much activity there is down there. A big proportion of Pittsburghers have worked downtown, much more so than in the downtowns of almost any other region. So people feel part of the discussion much more so than other places. Do people get this worked up over downtown Detroit?

Here is a funny story about Downtown I use a lot as an example of how to misuse statistics. Without identifying the paper or author, when population numbers came out from the 2000 census one of the numbers that popped out was that "Downtown" had grown by 1000 people, the biggest % jump in the city I think. There was a front page story about it with quotes and pictures all focused on how lots of "young people are moving downtown". Turns out though, that the county jail was rebuilt between 1990 and 2000 and in that process the inmate count jumped by a nearly identical number ~1000. The jail accounted for just about all of the increased population. The mythical increase in downtown residential population was just that. Am I implying any of this current activity is equally mythical, absolutely not.. these units are real and are just too pricey to be empty. but it gets to just how much we seem to want there to be success downtown. As with many things we see what we want to see.

John Morris

My own personal feeling is that a lot of the resentment about this comes from the fact that a lot of people would like to live downtown. After years of the city doing everything it could to remove populations from near the downtown-- ( like the lower hill ) suddenly, it's ok if you are rich.

I have a gallery, and the one thing that I can sell out of all the time is views of downtown Pittsburgh. I don't think that views of Shadyside sell well.

The other thing that pushes the buttons is parking. The reason is that, a lot of people are used to enjoying the amenity package on the cheap. Dense downtown housing demand would cut into the free ride.

Mark Rauterkus

Downtown presents a hot button for the region like no other. Everyone cares about downtown, as it should be. Because of that interest and passion -- the downtown discussion can be very intense and rich -- as far as interactions.

This isn't new. We've all always cared about Downtown.

A talk about South Side, North Side, West End, Hill District -- where ever else -- and the interest is 1/10th of what it is when contrasted with Downtown.

I feel that this downtown solution and vision is very important for the region. We need another big harry emotional conversation in this city -- no -- REGION. May the chatter begin.

- - -
The other point above that makes no sense is that Heinz Field counts as NOTHING for downtown residents. That's crap. Steelers, Pitt, Ribs, Races, Parties, Weddings -- and other things happen there.

Jonathan Potts

It is interesting that when we you read articles that include interviews with existing Downtown merchants, many seem ambivalent about residential development Downtown. (Or maybe I'm just reading the wrong articles.) They seem more anxious for more workers to come Downtown.

Now, I'm sure that's because the existing Downtown businesses, to a great extent, cater to office workers. They may not offer the kind of amenities that residents want/need. But it does touch on something that Chris has been getting at.

Assuming that every possible Downtown residential unit gets filled--and I'd love to see it--will that be enough to give us the type of Downtown that our leaders have been promising us for years. (I've yet to hear a good explanation as to why we need a 24-hour Downtown.) I recall Jane Jacobs, decades ago, writing about efforts to breed a night life and weekend life in lower Manhattan. Her concern was that there would never be sufficient density to create a truly vibrant neighborhood.

I wonder if we face the same challenge Downtown. (Far be it from me to remind everyone that were it not for the destruction of the Lower Hill, there might be more housing to gentrify, a point Chris made to me once before.) And I'm still trying to figure out how much it matters.

Jonathan Potts

It is interesting that when we you read articles that include interviews with existing Downtown merchants, many seem ambivalent about residential development Downtown. (Or maybe I'm just reading the wrong articles.) They seem more anxious for more workers to come Downtown.

Now, I'm sure that's because the existing Downtown businesses, to a great extent, cater to office workers. They may not offer the kind of amenities that residents want/need. But it does touch on something that Chris has been getting at.

Assuming that every possible Downtown residential unit gets filled--and I'd love to see it--will that be enough to give us the type of Downtown that our leaders have been promising us for years. (I've yet to hear a good explanation as to why we need a 24-hour Downtown.) I recall Jane Jacobs, decades ago, writing about efforts to breed a night life and weekend life in lower Manhattan. Her concern was that there would never be sufficient density to create a truly vibrant neighborhood.

I wonder if we face the same challenge Downtown. (Far be it from me to remind everyone that were it not for the destruction of the Lower Hill, there might be more housing to gentrify, a point Chris made to me once before.) And I'm still trying to figure out how much it matters.

Sam M

John writes:

"Yes, enourmous amounts have been spent, but when you ask yourself how much money or effort has been put into the things that are actually likely to attract residents the numbers go way down. Heinz field is a zero as as far as a city amenity since so few games are played. The convention center also is of little benefit to downtown residents."

Agreed.

But it'e one thing for you or I to say this. Quite another for city officials. I think that kind of admission would be a step in the right direction.

I don't think we are ever going to hear any of them say it.

Sam M

Chris,

Perhaps there is an outsized focus on downtown because every once in a while the city comes out with a plan that... focuses on downtown. I know there is a lot of other stuff going on around the city. A lot of money being spent. A lot of things being done.

But this latest plan is part of a larger infatuation with a very specific part of this city. The abatements apply, primarily, to downtown. And don't apply other places. Yes, there is SOME attention to other neighborhoods. But I think the reporters are right. I think this sounds like a plan for downtown housing. And not housing elsewhere.

And I think that's a tough sell with abatements. And I don't really understand the reasoning.

The government has spent hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars revitalizing downtown. They insist it has been a success. Except it isn't "vital" yet. In fact, the tastemakers and dealmakers who run the city's foundations and editorial boards are constantly moaning about the moribund Forbes-Fifth corridor, constantly talking about how to change it, constantly angling for more public money to change it, and constantly claiming that changing it will transform Pittsburgh into a city of tomorrow.

I think that's why people focus on downtown.

John Morris

Jonathan,

I dont think people have anything close to a realistic view of how many people would needed to be added to the downtown to transform it. That's why looking at all the areas that surround the downtown is so important.

Thats when you see the true damage that the stadiums do to the North Side. The tiny river makes the northside waterfront a potential extension of the downtown in terms of a place for housing and dense mixed use development. But instead we have a vast hole of underused space created by the stadiums. The lower hill is pretty much the same.
The reason that the connector seems to be such a waste is because of the stadiums, without them one could.

The actual things that have been done do not indicate any seriousness about attracting residents.

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