Kirjutab Glen Leis eesti ja inglise keeles
Kommentaarid on kirjutatud EWR lugejate poolt. Nende sisu ei pruugi ühtida EWR toimetuse seisukohtadega.
lugeja29 Nov 2017 07:22
Regarding this tidbit:

The lack of alternatives provided answers my earlier question; those in opposition seem to have nothing else to offer so ...

The fact is, we have been told in no uncertain terms by experts in their respective fields that the Esto house is in very good shape and that staying there is a perfectly viable option. This alternative is what's being offered by "the opposition", is the author really unaware of this?

We have been told by the "madisonites" that staying on Broadview is not a viable option. All we ask is that this claim be backed by facts. And as time passes with silence being the only answer given, the more suspicious these claims seem to be. It seems that the "madisonites" suscribe to the theory that "if you ignore them long enough, they'll go away" which is unfortunate as the lack of information is precisely what's dividing us.

It seems like the author would have our voices silenced. That's a shame.
Glen Leis29 Nov 2017 15:02
Engaging in any debate with workable alternatives is welcome. Unfortunately I for one have not seen anything but conjecture from those that oppose the decision to move from Broadview. This in mind I would like to further explore the statements you presented as “facts”. Who are the experts and what are they proposing? Repair? Renovation? Have budgets been prepared for the costs of these renovations and what is the projected future cash flows for the newly renovated Estonian House? It may be a fact that the Estonian House is in very good shape; however, this statement requires context for it to be properly understood. If it is in very good shape that does not mean that the building is in anyway economically viable. The rooms and associated facilities may function, but they are out of date for the 21st century. A perfectly good Estonian House is unlikely to be sustainable today. When you add in the cost of the required mechanical and electrical updates, just to maintain what we have, the economic model would most definitely not work. Before you challenge what I have presented consider that I am basing this on the fact that the Estonian House is cash flow negative now, the added burden of repairs would only make this worse. This is not an unsubstantiated assumption.

Therefore, merely repairing the Estonian House will not suffice, leaving us with the options of wholesale renovation or rebuilding of the Estonian House site. What does this look like and where will the money come from to make it happen?
pros and cons29 Nov 2017 15:44
"Therefore, merely repairing the Estonian House will not suffice, leaving us with the options of wholesale renovation or rebuilding of the Estonian House site. What does this look like and where will the money come from to make it happen?"

I agree with you there.

1) need detailed plan to turn tired building into a viable, modern centre where people will want to be and will want to rent space -- this is not the case now for the younger generation.
2) need an architect to take this on -- someone with vision to make something old into something spectacular
3) need an excellent team to pull this off for the long haul
4) need to tap into the passion of the community to get behind the project financially in a major way

So who is going to take this on? Up until now, I have only seen tire kickers.
Samalt IP numbrilt on siin varem kommenteerinud: about pros and cons (14:19)
Glen Leis29 Nov 2017 19:57
What you are proposing is all well and good, but where would the money come from for this renovation without selling the property?
Samalt IP numbrilt on siin varem kommenteerinud: Glen Leis (15:02)
ok29 Nov 2017 09:14
one more opinion
about pros and cons29 Nov 2017 14:19
Glen, I have great respect for you, you are a great guy.

From reading your letter, it would seem that you think that the only reason that there is opposition to the Madison site is that people are just being difficult or they just want things their own way.

Here are my concerns:

1. Commuters will be inconvenienced with hunting down a parking spot possibly in high traffic. Consider a huge event taking place in a Madson Estonian centre and a significant number of people descending upon the parking spaces scattered around the area. I believe you are a commuter. You don’t think that you will say at any point in the future “naw, I don’t feel like battling traffic and hunting down a parking spot for X Esto event today, I will do something else instead”? Now let’s be honest. I would consider not showing up, especially if I was living at a distance.

2. Now put yourself in the shoes of a 75+ year old Estonian. Let’s throw in a heart condition, incontinence issues, and a smattering of other health problems. Are you going to be keen to a) battle Bloor St. traffic and b) hunt down a parking spot? If you had health issues, would you not consider forgoing X Esto event to save yourself aggravation? By the time this is built, many of us "younger" ones will be in the seniors category with potentially a multitude of health challenges. Try putting yourself in your shoes ten to 20 years from now.

3. Aren’t you concerned that the money will run out? The sale of the present house will not cover the final bill of the new house on Madison. And the bill will surely blossom as all construction projects do. Does our community really want this headache? Aren't we biting of more than we can chew? I would have possibly considered the Madison option borderline possible if they had the entire community behind the project, but they do not. Unfortunately, a handful of people decided to go ahead with the Madison project without doing their research to survey the community as to whether there were issues with this particular site for its members. I find it completely unnerving that there is still no capital campaign put in place. It makes me feel that the lead organizations do not have their ducks in a row. It’s as if they don’t even believe that the building will be built on Madison.

I am not tied to the present Broadview site, but the Madison site has me seriously concerned. I would rather consider building next to the Latvian Centre. It is not an optimal option to squeeze a postmark sized structure over a subway system on Madison, which will lead to the building crumbling earlier than need be. Both the Spadina and Bloor lines run underneath the property. There must be significant costs of maintaining a building’s structure over two subway lines. If the credit union needs to be on Bloor St to capture a significant number of new customers, then they can negotiate an office in the Tartu College building.

At the moment, for me, the cons outweigh the pros. It’s not about being difficult. It's about being realistic.
Ingrid Tanner29 Nov 2017 20:08
Glen Leis
So... yes there needs to be a plan.
You know I voted for the very first plan. Condos, and underground parking... loved it...
Yet, it was not viable... and the purchaser walked away... and then another purchaser walked away.. then Madison popped up and another purchaser just walked away.
The Estonian House IS still valuable. That is why the bank keep lending funds and putting a lien on the asset. How much have the they borrowed so far? Soon there will be so much debt on the Estonian house that even when the Org's sell it.. there will not be enough to cover the Madison site.. yes, one can borrow funds... but one needs to prove ability to pay... prove cash flow... which you understand.

May I suggest you read all the articles written - both the org's and the the rest of us... written in Eesti Elu and Estonian World Review... then come back to us.
The Estonian House board members and management over the years seems all lack asset management. Even now... there is no real plan for marketing. And the New website is stagnant with busy photos...though a board member promoted himself as working in the marketing industry.
Disappointment is NONE STOP! I tried to believe really I did.
Spend some money.. low flow toilets, put in LED lights… the payback can be calculated.. fix the roof… and fill up the place with renters - but rental rate has to be increased.… then show cash flow and then borrow funds to upgrade. The bank can have the ground floor… It can all be done.. but it starts with asset management and marketing.
Ingrid Tanner29 Nov 2017 21:48
wow... with all those letters beside your name you have to ask?

I would borrow money… (if any equity is left) and I would reach out to the community to donate fund or experience.
Since there is currently many mortgages on the property - not sure how much more can be taken out before it becomes the banks asset.
Moving on…. The asset needs to look nice.. we have Estonian House Friends who paint and fix up the asset. They also apply for grants (like one for the leaking roof which has NOT been accepted by the board) so our roof still leaks.
The operating costs have to go down.. new LED lights and low flow toilets… one can calculate the payback time…
Then the venue has to be updated … initially enhance accessibility issues that need to be taken care of to comply to provincial standards.
The rents need to be increased – I manage assets… low rents devalues the asset… keeping rents higher means the Estonian House will have a higher value and a better chance to borrow funds if there is sustainable cash flow.
I would encourage users of the Estonian House to host special events… that attract paying visitors. This could involve Art shows or concerts.
The vision of glass walls and openness… and being modern can become a reality – ONLY if we start to manage the asset properly.
Marketing is key.. currently there is a static website.. which has most likely fallen to bottom of the search engine.. which is sad since one board member boasted how he works in the marketing industry. And the marketing photos are too busy and would not convince anyone to rent at the Estonian house … thus a proper website and “staged” photos.. and e-flyer sent to every caterer in town… Where emailing the flyers cost us nothing…
Is this enough for now?
Samalt IP numbrilt on siin varem kommenteerinud: Ingrid Tanner (20:08)
lugeja30 Nov 2017 07:35
Agree with everything Ingrid has said.

I appreciate your comment:
"Engaging in any debate with workable alternatives is welcome."

Ingrid suggested that you read all the articles written ... not sure if you've done so or not but I suspect you haven't. At any rate thanks for responding to questions about your article, dialogue is always good and IMO that's the main thing that's been lacking as of late. Many of us feel that legitimate questions are going unanswered and this is eating away at the unity of our community - the feeling of being ignored and steamrolled is not a pleasant one. I'm skeptical that Madison is a good (or even a viable) option but I'm always willing to be convinced. My biggest problem ATM is that we have been told that staying where we are isn't a viable option and I'm not even close to being convinced that this is true.

Dialogue is what I believe is needed most so again, I'd like to thank you for sharing your thoughts. And I thank everyone who is sharing their thoughts whether I agree with them or not.
Samalt IP numbrilt on siin varem kommenteerinud: lugeja (07:22)
Väino V. Keelmann30 Nov 2017 07:20
Kas härra audiitor/raamatupidaja teab rohkem Eesti Maja müümist hinnast ja Madisoni kuludest kui aktsionärid? Kuidas nii? Palun näidake meile ka.
Ingrid Tanner30 Nov 2017 08:26
to lugeja

I agree wholeheartedly on continued dialog... sadly it feels like everything is a secret. The setbacks do not get discussed...

Also... it might become an ego thing where it would be embarrassing for the org's to change their mind.

Because there are intelligent people on the the Org's boards.. and they still push forward on a "dream" venue with no parking and super expensive building to build.

And if the accountant on the board has worked with assets that are valued by rental income.. the spaces at madison would have to cost a fortune to rent.... since the venue is so small compared to the current Estonian House.. and the expensive parking lot they are purchasing and converting it into a public space THAT DOES NOT GENERATE INCOME. makes the purchase of the parking lot super expensive space to pay taxes on... which in turn makes the cost per sq ft of the actual rent-able venue super high. the rents have to cover all the costs... from the open air area and the rentable spaces.

Most ALL Estonian house areas can be fully used and rented.. there are no communal areas that would not generate revenue - except for the hallways.. and elevator. Easier to make the Estonian House profitalble than the Madison venue - in my opinion.
Samalt IP numbrilt on siin varem kommenteerinud: Ingrid Tanner (20:08), Ingrid Tanner (21:48)
Well said01 Dec 2017 06:36
"Easier to make the Estonian House profitalble than the Madison venue - in my opinion."

Well said.
Shareholder02 Dec 2017 11:58
Sorry, Glen, but critical discussion of these kinds of proposals is just what intelligent people do. Especially when there is so much at stake. Don't be embarrassed.

The shareholders have every right to hold the board accountable. We just do not buy the 'sky is falling' message anymore. The board tells us that the roof is caving in, the boiler is about to explode, and the 'EM will go bankrupt in three months' unless we sign a deal with Tribute Communities/Alterra/or whatever the next partner is. Lots of really good points have been raised that indicate that this is not the case. We have been manipulated into making an rash decision to sell off the EM. That is, of course, if you trust the results of the last shareholder vote that the board refused to recount.
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