Wallace Bajjali Resigns as Joplin’s Master Developer
“Do we feel like the master developer has handled themselves in a professional way in exiting this town? No. But will this town be strong and move forward? Yes we will,” says Joplin Mayor Mike Seibert.
Wallace Bajjali has resigned. Earlier today the city received Costa Bajalli’s and David Wallace’s resignation via email. Wallace’s resignation dated over two weeks ago.
City manager Sam Anselm says the city didn’t see this coming.
“I don’t think we did. You hear rumors and things but nothing concrete until we received the email from Costa earlier today.”
Building Manager Ginger Sweet says the group packed up their things and left their Joplin office in the Gryphon building about a week ago causing concern for city officials trying to reach the company.
The group disconnected their phones at their Texas headquarters and City Attorney’s were unable to contact them for days.
This news comes after over three and a half years the group was contracted out to redevelop Joplin after the tornado.
“That doesn’t make too many people in Joplin feel real comfortable. It’s hard for them to look and say ‘there hasn’t been any shovel turned in four years’ or a little over three years as master developer and private people have gone out and developed a lot of stuff, says JRC Board Member and Former Mayor Phil Stinnett.
The city has paid Wallace Bajjali about a million dollars in pursuit costs to take them on as Master Developer and thousands of dollars more in land fees and TIF money.
“I believe there was a mention in the contract that those pursuit costs would be paid back to the city through the projects that were to come online so there’s potential for that,” says Anselm.
The mayor says he’s confident the city will be able to move forward on existing projects like the new library on 20th street and is working on a grant for an adjoining retail development.
Next Monday the city will vote on architectural and engineering contracts for the library and plans to send out a request for a proposal on a new senior center in the coming weeks.
In Joplin, Diane Gerstenfeld KOAM News.