Letter – Good developers are easy to find

Published 5:39 pm Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

I was a contractor all of my working life. I put in 41 years, owned a general construction company in San Diego, with a branch office in Nashville, for 20 of those years, got a license in Hawaii and one in Florida, and one everywhere in between I needed one, and built in 23 states, plus D.C. 

I learned that there are bazillions of good general contractors and fine real estate developers all over this country. They are easy to find, too. Just ask around. For example, all the doctors in Newport News know who the best among them are. My dad used to teach that a man’s reputation is all he ever really has.   

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Some of my competitors were very good contractors. The P. F. Chang folks had four general contractors they used for their expansion. They passed their jobs out like cookies. My company got Hawaii, Denver, Salt Lake City, Cincinnati, Little Rock and so forth, while the others built their own share. Cheesecake Factory did the same thing  It was common practice

Good developers abound. Have a look around the D.C. area or Richmond’s Short Pump. That’s quality development, well built, by various developers and contractors.

Folks, the notion that Smithfield needs to sign up  Mr. Luter quickly, before he gets mad and goes home, so as to pay him a lot of our tax money to build out his proposed work at the old Pierceville farm, is just simply misplaced emotion. There are a ton of good developers out there who could do every bit as well, maybe better, use better contractors, build better buildings, plan better traffic routes, offer better proffers to pay for their impacts on our public facilities and go about the whole development in a traditional, orthodox manner. You know, without tax subsidies and without forcing the purchase of a building we don’t want and can’t really use well.

Reasoning that Mr. Luter is our only good choice just because his father has built some very ordinary work in Smithfield, years back, is just bad thinking.


Chris Torre