10 POINTS FOR THOSE WHO VOTED FOR A NEW ESTONIAN HOUSE 2- JOINT VENTURE DEVELOPMENT PROJECT TO CONSIDER : (13)
Eesti keeles: http://www.eesti.ca/10-punkti-...
10 POINTS FOR THOSE WHO VOTED FOR A NEW ESTONIAN HOUSE 2- JOINT VENTURE DEVELOPMENT PROJECT TO CONSIDER :
The independent consultant hired by the Estonian House Board, spoke at the special shareholder meeting held in January 2015 ( can be viewed online) to the topic of how much money would be leftover to build the EH2 space . Recently, he clarified what he said at that meeting, when asked the following question: Once the project is complete, approximately how much money will be leftover for EH2 to design, build and furnish the EH2 space? He answered definitively, : "You could even be in DEBT....practically nothing will be leftover . " This means the EH Board will have sold an $11 million property and thrown that money away. Fund- raising for millions will be required . If the EH Board cannot fund - raise for the existing house, what all of a sudden, makes them able to fundraise much more, for designing, building, and furnishing EH2 ?
Furthermore , the consultant continued, regarding the size of EH2, " The amount of space is still up for debate." Unlike what the Eesti Maja Tuleviku Komitee has stated, " EH2 will be 31,000 square feet" . That, in fact, is impossible.
The EMTK used examples of the developer 's condo developments to demonstrate that the developer has experience in building condos. Included in these examples were developments that were pre - construction. One that has actually been built is the Royal Canadian Military Institute . The financially stable RCMI entered into an agreement with the developer in 2008, to demolish their existing building, and allow development of a 42 - storey condo tower in exchange for an INCREASED space in " FREEHOLD ". This means the RCMI owns both the LAND and SPACE in the new structure, unlike the EH which has given up it 's real asset - entire ownership of the land , as well as lands owned by Sihtkapital.
The RCMI moved out June 2010 and moved into the new building in July 2014 - over 4 long years.
The cost of not having our social & community school centre for such a long period of time is immeasurable. Practical and tangible costs, such as moving and storage, which in Toronto averages $500/month for a small unit has not even appeared to be on the radar of the EMTK.
Currently , it appears, a nearby, recently built condo just north of EH on Broadview at Pottery Rd.is having problems. Some residents have spoken about walls , foundations etc. cracking , as the entire structure has been shifting and settling . This has lead to other problems ( water damage, mould etc. ). The root cause of these problems is the slope overlooking the DVP, and the soil quality. EH2 will be subject to the same problems created by building adjacent to this slope. EMTK will tell you this will not happen with our developer . Well, our developer will have taken the money and be out of the picture by then.
Where is the financial plan for EH2 ? Simply having a brand, new, modern, flashy space does not and will not guarantee that it will be sustainable. The shareholders should have been presented with a detailed financial plan. EH wants to partner in a joint venture that is a $100 millon complex urban and commercial development . EH will take on enormous potential liabilities as a partner and is ill-equipped to do so . A non - profit corporation should never risk it's only asset in a complex development venture, and numerous share - holders are concerned enough over personal liability to be contemplating dumping their shares before the deal goes sideways.
Having independently reviewed both the present EH, as well as the proposed EH2, from a financial, and structural stance, a number of, highly educated, knowledgable Estonians who are currently active planners, builders/developers, architects etc. are emphatically advising against signing the purchase agreement . They all agree we must "stop the madness ". Their collective advice is fund - raise to update the existing EH. Why would we ignore, and not heed the warnings, and respect the educated opinions of experts from within our own community? Why for that matter were they not consulted in the first place instead of squandering thousands of dollars on Cushman & Wakefield etc.? Anyone who thinks commercial real estate brokers provide an independent assessment is naive. They are working in their own interests. Remember, they provide commercial real estate services to help clients turn fixed assets into dynamic assets. A simplistic comparison would be asking the barber if you need a haircut. Perhaps EMTK has their own agenda ( A new EH2 ), since every move has been carefully orchestrated towards this end. The EH Board should be able to walk away at any time, no reason required. However, it seems as if the Board has a desire to to push through this project at any cost.
"Oma tuba - oma luba " is an old estonian catch phrase that we all know, cleverly and recklessly used by the EMTK to try to appease members of the community who feel Estonians should continue to own our piece of real estate that can be considered a piece of Estonia right here in Toronto.They dreamed up using the phrase when questions started to arise regarding EH2 not being an independent structure, in and of itself , unable to operate without restrictions. The situation is comparable to that encountered by anyone who has ever lived in a semi - detached house; had a bad neighbour; or even lived in a condo. The sheer proximity of other individuals and their demands is the greatest determinant and influence on what happens, and so it will be with EH2. There is no way "oma tuba , oma luba " could ever apply to being part of a structure filled with scores of other tenants. Incidentally, the current trend in Toronto is that when planned condos cannot be sold the entire building becomes rental units at the last minute.
In Europe, the age of buildings is measured in centuries and many are still very viable. The North American entitled approach is to measure buildings in decades and then replace them. EH has much more life in it . It needs some TLC. Maybe the EH Board should put together a larger Property Management Team that cares about the building, and who will be responsible for all aspects of it's maitenance and operations. Presently, our EH has definite rental income, and renters have expressed they are pleased with our unique space with ample parking. Income would be increased with added promotion. How is it that renters rave about enjoying and appreciating the EH space and evidently, the EMTK and it's supporters do not?
The EH board successfully blind - sided the shareholders and the Estonian community by presenting the proposal and then expecting the shareholders to vote on the LOI in about a week . They failed to mention that this proposal was not the same proposal that was presented at the 2014 AGM as being the one selected from the RFP process. Somewhat believable excuses were made by the EMTK to justify the haste of the vote on the LOI, but really, the " rush to close the deal `` is a tried and true sales technique. This haste and overall continuous lack of transparency , (because of confidentiality of course, as claimed by the EH Board ) gave rise to questions from shareholders. Suddenly, the board started to worry about those who rightfully questioned the rush and wanted more information . EMTK heard echos of: ``IF YOU HAVE NOTHING TO HIDE , HIDE NOTHING.`` So they complied. What could possibly be more transparent, than a teleconference where one board member answers pre- screened e - mail questions with no possibility of spontaneous or follow - up questions?
When the EH board voted on various issues related to EH2 over the past year, did all board members always vote unanimously, and if not, why not ?
The vote on the LOI appeared to be a landslide due to the structure of block voting by organizations such as the Estonian Credit Union, who as a matter of fact, never consulted it's own shareholder - members as to how their representative should vote with the hundreds of shares they have. How many other organizations did not directly consult their members? How is this fair representation?
The ECU chairman, and the bank board member, who also sits on the EMTK, stand in a direct conflict of interest. The chairman urged EH shareholders to vote for a new EH2 , yet has continually avoided the question of where the credit union will be located once EH2 is complete. This support for a new EH2 should indicate that the bank will definitely return, and if not returning to 958 Broadview, is the support of EH2 not hypocritical? Or...does the ECU have something more to gain?
These are 10 points to consider. There are others. Finally, is it not better, given we will have to fundraise for both scenarios, to fundraise for our own updated building , avoid the condo tower, and keep 100% ownership ?
SUPPORTERS OF TORONTO EESTI MAJA