Thursday, November 08, 2007

Tracking The Details

On paper it sounds good. The proposed student housing on the Saint John’s Academy property would have employees on site plus resident advisers, all to keep an eye on things.

The developer, United Realty Management Corp. of Albany, said it would have five or six personnel on grounds, including a manager. This makes an interesting contrast to the stories of absentee landlords in Center City who collect their rent and do little to maintain their properties or handle problems caused by some tenants.

But plans change.

Maybe I’m a bit too skeptical, but I remember the incident of the bar that wasn’t going to be a bar. Back in the day when the city (supposedly) was upset with too many drinking holes, there was a businessman who fought to establish another one downtown. The businessman said his place would be different. It would also offer coffee; he would install special coffee-making machines to serve caffeinated brew.

Or so he was quoted in a newspaper article. I visited his bar after it opened. It appeared to be just like all the other bars pushing alcohol. A hang-out serving cheap suds to college students.

I noticed a detail was missing. I asked the bartender where the coffeemakers were.

He grunted. “Maybe they’ll be installed next week,” he replied.

Apparently I was the only person who tracked the controversy about the bar. Or who noticed that specially brewed coffee was never served there.

United Realty could be really offering properly supervised student housing. But projects make adjustments along the way due to budgetary or other considerations. Maybe United Realty could make its business plan freely available, showing the payroll line items for the full time on-site personnel. And from there inform the city about any changes with these items.

Personally, I’d like to see if there's a line item for coffeemakers.

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