Letter: Consider Lowe Enterprises’ record
The redevelopment of the Pan and Fork site gives Basalt the chance to rejuvenate downtown while protecting access to the river. Lowe Enterprises has proposed a hotel and condos at the site.
Residents and council members should consider Lowe Enterprises’ record of failed developments and contentious labor disputes, including the following:
In 2005, Lowe Destination Development opened the Stone Eagle Golf Club, an 18-hole luxury golf course in Palm Desert, California, and the Coachella Valley. Five years later, Stone Eagle was foreclosed upon by the lender, Pacific Western Bank.
In 2007, Lowe paid $13.1 million for a 700-acre tract of development land in Palm Coast, Florida, that it intended to develop into the Sawmill Creek master planned community. In April 2013, Lowe sold the land to an Orlando real estate firm for $406,000, a 97 percent loss.
In 2006, Lowe Enterprises was selected by the city of Azusa, California, to develop a mixed-use retail and housing project on public land. In 2008, Azusa terminated its agreement with Lowe to redevelop the site after Lowe failed to obtain financing for the project.
In 2007, Lowe Enterprises won a bid to redevelop a subway station in North Hollywood, California. In 2013, Metro, Los Angeles County’s public transportation authority, announced that Lowe had failed to secure the funds needed to bring the project to fruition.
In 2006, Lowe Enterprises acquired Hotel Icon in Houston on behalf of its fund Lowe Hospitality Investment Partners. In 2011, a joint venture between Canyon-Johnson Urban Funds and Centurion Partners acquired the property from Lowe at a foreclosure auction.
At the Lowe-operated Tempe Mission Palms in Tempe, Arizona, housekeepers have as little as 20 minutes to clean each hotel room due to the high room quota. Housekeepers also report they do not have the proper supplies to clean rooms, forcing them to scrub the floors on their hands and knees. On June 22, employees sought to meet with hotel management to request a fair, neutral process to organize that would ensure labor peace at the hotel. Management refused to meet with employees. In early July, workers declared a two-day hunger strike to protest unsafe conditions at the hotel. They participated in the strike for two days in 108 degree heat, drinking only water.
Basalt deserves a development residents can be proud of. How will Lowe ensure the Pan and Fork development is not a repeat of its past failures? How will Lowe ensure Basalt is spared the labor strife occurring at its Tempe hotel?
For more information about Lowe and its labor record, please visit http://tempefastworkerstories.org.
Research Analyst, UNITE HERE
Los Angeles, California