Did you know that the sales tax you pay at Providence Place doesn’t go to the state? It goes to the owner of the mall to defray the cost of building it. Now that the owner is in bankruptcy and trying desperately to sell its assets (about 200 malls and luxury condo buildings) I think the state has a great opportunity to take advantage of the economy and ‘nationalize’ the mall. Providence Place turns a really healthy profit, and this would help keep money in-state.
I’m sure the folks at the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation could spawn a private company that could buy the mall at today’s super-discounted rate, operate it as-is for a few years as a private company, and then either keep it or sell it to another management company when the commercial real estate market is firmer.
Normally, I’m a very pro-business, less-government guy, but the deal we gave to the builders of the mall was an insane giveaway. If we’re going to ‘cheat’ at free-market capitalism by giving private companies sweet deals to do business here, we should cheat to win.
How this would be done, and at what cost is a question. Can the state make $100 million dollar loans right now? What if they’re charging interest? What if they get to keep the 7% of sales made at the mall again? Does anyone have information on the value of the mall, or the sales and tax data and details about the tax-break given to the developers and owners?