Gastonia City Manager James M. (Jim) Palenicki
May 3, 2011
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
It is my distinct pleasure to offer this letter of reference and recommendation on behalf of Garfield Traub Development, LLC, and in particular its two principals, Ray Garfield and Tony Traub.
Beginning in Summer, 1996, and extending through the Autumn of 2002, I served as City Manager for the City of Bay City, Michigan. It was impressed upon me early in that tenure that the principally-defined redevelopment goal of our community was to finance and construct a first-class, full-service, Downtown Hotel/Conference Center of true “destination” quality. In fact, for well over a decade previous to that time a series of roadblocks and outright failures had left the project as little more than an unfulfilled dream that many were dismissing as “impossible”. Then, however, I discovered Garfield Traub Development and its consummately-skilled leaders, Ray Garfield and Tony Traub.
With their combined expertise in complex, tax-exempt bond transactions and Hospitality-oriented real estate deals, we were ultimately able to make possible a financing and development package that truly would have remained impossible using any other developers or consultants, under any other scenarios.
Drawing upon the utmost in financial creativity and personal relationships within the national financial and hospitality communities, Ray and Tony allowed us to experience the on-tune, in-budget, groundbreaking on a $34 million, 150-room, Double Tree-branded hotel and conference center that, in many ways, serves as the national “model” for anchoring urban-core redevelopment and success in a small city.
The Garfield Traub Development team, along with their excellent supporting organization, not only made the difference in financing; they also assisted in the identification and selection of an operator and design team; acquired a top national franchise; assisted with the negotiation of all critical legal, operational, and financial documents; and, provided important management support for the public relations and communications efforts necessary to gain stakeholder support.
Even though I am now many years removed from my tenure in Bay City, I can state that I remain steadfast in my admiration for the ability and professionalism possessed by these two men and their supporting organization. I can state unequivocally, that in their collective absence, the City of Bay City would not have completed the successful, and otherwise-long-awaited fulfillment of its primary redevelopment objective.
If you should wish to speak to me further about my experiences with the Garfield Traub Development team, or about the financing and development of the Bay City Double Tree Hotel and Conference Center, please don’t hesitate to contact me at my home number (704) 854-4178; or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org at your convenience.
James (Jim) M. Palenicki
Gastonia City Manager
Bay Area Convention and Visitors Bureau
Executive Director Shirley M. Roberts
July 12, 2004
There is an energy and excitement in Bay City today that didn’t exist a few years ago. People here are beginning to see the potential of this sleepy little town along the Saginaw River. They are finally beginning to believe we can make great things happen here. It’s really amazing how one new, significant development can change the course of an entire community.
The concept of building a hotel/conference center in Downtown Bay City had been on the drawing board for at least 15 years. One after another, local officials attempted to negotiate a deal with what seemed the “private developer du jour.” Several times, just when it seemed everything was coming together nicely, one or the other (local officials or private developer) backed out and our community’s dreams for a new landmark came to a screeching halt. Following this series of starts and stops, people here were largely skeptical a deal could ever materialize.
Garfield Traub Development entered the scene during a period when the community was soundly divided on the issue. Most who were knowledgeable about the many failed attempts to work with private developers on the project thought they had seen and heard it all. The non-profit model you suggested was an entirely new approach and seemed, at first glance, too good to be true. In fact, the model worked exceedingly well. Garfield Traub successfully leveraged approximately $12 million in grants, $3.4 million in loans, and a $4 million loan from the City’s economic development corporation to secure $15.4 million in tax-exempt hotel revenue bonds to finance the project.
Following more than a decade of debate, and after only 18 months of construction, Bay City celebrated the first guest at its new Doubletree hotel and conference center in early June 2004. The first-class, full-service facility offers magnificent views of the Saginaw River and the Wenonah Park amphitheater; 150 guest rooms including two suites; 15,000 square feet of meeting space and a 7,600 square foot ballroom.
The Doubletree has indeed become the new landmark we hoped it would be. Still in its infancy, the property has received rave reviews for its accoutrements, meeting facilities and service. These, too, can be attributed to Garfield Traub and the extensive network you brought to the table. From the layout of the meeting facilities to securing the Hilton Corporation Doubletree brand…from selecting the architects to choosing the right interior design firm…Garfield Traub’s influence permeates the facility and has made a permanent mark on Bay City’s downtown riverfront landscape.
I certainly enjoyed working with you on this project and thought you should know how much our new hotel and conference center has impacted our community. Please feel free to call on me if I can be of any help to you in the future.
Best personal regards,
Shirley M. Roberts