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What is your opinion of Master Developer Wallace Bajjali? - KOAM TV 7

What is your opinion of Master Developer Wallace Bajjali?

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Jack Golden
The Wallace Bajjali contract should remain in effect. If he is able to cause development to occur that would be good thing for everybody.

Harvey Hutchinson
The present contract as originally negotiated with the master developer is un-manageable and sweetheart to them. There is no production to date, and nothing tangible for the City thus far except a huge land bank that may or may not prove viable. The recent authorization for Wallace Bajalli to receive $57,500 for a paper transaction is onerous for Joplin. This was essentially a land donation from Mercy Hospital to the City and no money exchanged hands except for Wallace Bajalli. Nothing like this occurred when the hospital donated land to the school board. Something is wrong and needs a fresh new Council to look deeply into it, and closely watch the subsequent process throughout Wallace Bajjali’s tenure here.

We are way behind pace in meeting the five year rebuild targets. Private business and builders are doing a wonderful job, and getting their building and goals accomplished without governmental hand-outs.

Miranda Lewis
In my view, Wallace Bajjali has some great ideas for projects that could help move Joplin forward. The success of their projects only stands to enhance our community, promoting growth and potential jobs. I also think it’s important to start seeing some movement on current projects in order to foster public trust in the master developer. As we move forward, feasibility studies should be conducted to ensure viability and long-term sustainability of proposed projects. We must require absolute transparency in order to keep citizens informed on the master developer’s progress. From what I have seen, Wallace Bajjali has extended an open invitation to anyone seeking information on its projects.

Trisha Raney
I was on the team that visited Waco, Texas and toured some of his previous projects and met with several of the people he had worked with there. Those completed projects are serving their community well. David Wallace also got high recommendations from the people we met with. When interviewing firms for the position of Master Developer, Wallace Bajjali stood out as the best option and there was a consensus among the CART Implementation Task Force to go with this firm.

I understand it has been frustrating that we haven’t seen quicker progress due to the time it has taken to acquire land and work out financing. I expect to see construction beginning this summer. I am optimistic that the City and Wallace Bajjali can maintain a good relationship and that we, as a City, will be happy with the results.

Mike Seibert

I base my support for Wallace Bajjali on what was accomplished in 2013.

Secure Funding: Along with City staff WB worked to secure over $90 million in Federal and State of Missouri dollars. This included trips to Jefferson City with City staff to secure $4.2 million in DALA tax credits.

Land Acquisition: WB was told to redevelop Joplin in the tornado zone, large projects take large tracts of land, the tornado path was predominantly residential. There is now more than 50 acres representing over 67 parcels of land purchased or under contract.

Projects in Pre development: Senior Care Living - Multi Family project with partner Nu Rock-Movie Theater Project / Joplin Towne Square- Loft/ Retail Project – Consolidated Government Office Complex – Mercy/Science Center. These projects are in different phases of development, the closest to turning dirt is the Senior Care Project at 26th and Maiden Lane, scheduled for this Spring.

The City of Joplin has a great partner in Wallace Bajjali, it is unfair to judge the success of our Master Developer at this point in time by visible construction. In 2014 the citizens will see dirt move, that with consistent public updates on the projects will keep citizens better informed.

Gary Shaw
Wallace Bajjali was hired by the Joplin City Council to help us in the reconstruction of a major part of our city after the tornado of 2011. They were selected from a field of Master Developers and have presented a plan that will strategically help us, over the next several years, complete the goals we have set for the redevelopment of our city.

Like many of our citizens, I am extremely anxious to see some brick and mortar appear on the horizon. About three weeks ago Mr. Wallace made a presentation to the council as to where they are in that plan. According to that update, we are right on schedule and later this year we will see some projects begin to take place. My position is to have confidence in them and their proposal, while monitoring their progress to assure that they are accomplishing what they promised.

Ryan Stanley
I believe City Council should hold Wallace Bajjali accountable to the schedule and developments Wallace Bajjali has undertaken. David Wallace presented to City Council in February and in August. At both of those meetings, I was reassured that Wallace Bajjali was making progress in securing funding, securing land, and assembling a development package. We should hear from David Wallace every eight weeks with similar updates. If progress stagnates, it is upon City Council to hold Wallace Bajjali accountable. If stagnation progresses, it is upon City Council to find a reasonable and efficient exit strategy. Today, I have confidence in Wallace Bajjali as a partner with the City and our rebuilding efforts.

Jim West
I would like to see them start some of the projects he has been talking about, like turning dirt, drawing and plans just anything on what they have been talking about for the last eighteen months.

Mike Woolston
Given that our current experience is the first Joplin has ever had with a master developer, I think things are going just about as they should be. I know there is some impatience in the community to see more rebuilding construction, however, I don’t think the public has a very thorough understanding of the complexity of the commercial development process, particularly when millions and millions of federal government dollars are involved. I do wonder however, if we as the general public, have informally placed the responsibility for the entire rebuild on the shoulders of the Wallaca-Bajjali firm. After having been at this for a short time, it now seems to me that we have perhaps given the Wallace-Bajjali firm the primary responsibility for the rebuild, but that we all have a responsibility to continue to give input on the progress of the rebuild and to also offer our own ideas on what could be done better, or differently, to achieve the end result we all want. We as citizens must continue to be involved as this is OUR city and ultimately we are responsible for how it is rebuilt.

A NOTE TO OUR VIEWERS: Candidates answers appear exactly as they were written by the candidate, except in cases where candidates exceeded the 150 word allowance.


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