Letters to the Editor

Shel Thompson: Outrageous costs destroy confidence

Regarding “Senior living replaces park” (Page B1, July 15): $13.7 million for 50 540-square-foot apartments at 17th and G streets, a construction cost of $507.41 per foot. The developer, a compendium of companies specializing in pork-laced projects at public expense, says the price tag is due to prevailing wage (about one-third higher than market); it’s built to last 55 years (apparently others are designed for 30); and state-mandated energy efficiency (a common alibi for swollen bids) in order to receive state tax credit financing.

Most people favor affordable projects and realize that impossible borrowing requirements of the “free market” continue to decrease the option of ownership for everyone, including responsible middle-class families. The solution is not to worsen this broken system by failing to question ludicrously priced subsidized projects.

There is either logical reason for these numbers or there is not. If the answer is “not,” then every person with interest in sustainable communities needs to know and act accordingly.

Construction is notoriously competitive. These numbers don’t make sense.

Modesto is not Detroit, yet. Projects that outrageously siphon both trust and dollars make a mockery of intent; we can do better.

Shel Thompson, Modesto

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