Church Finance – Part IV

When I concluded part III of the Church Finance series I fully believed that it was complete.  Well, not complete, but finished as far as I was concerned.  I had dug up as much information, and tried to tie as many loose ends together as I thought I could.  And, frankly, I wasn’t even interested in looking into too many details of the seedy side of church finance.  I was semi-determined to move on to other topics, if not take a break for awhile.  As Justin mentioned in his comment in Part III, this isn’t uplifting material and certainly weighs on the mind, mine included.  It’s rarely pretty digging up some of this information, even though it may be “out and about” and readily findable.  I concur.  And, yet I thought I had moved on from it.

In fact, I had even toyed with closing this thing altogether, not because of what I was writing on, or its effects on me, but because I thought my time was finished in the “blog” world.  In beginning this blog I mentioned how I had set out to do a “one year” commitment, though far from set on that 365-day timetable.  I’m not a full-time blogger by any stretch.  I’m even embarrassed to mention that I have a “blog.”  (Pride issue, methinks.)  And yet, in pondering these topics and what I wanted to do with my time prior to some of the coming changes we’re about to see, I thought it might be best to shut up shop, leave it “live” so anyone/everyone could read, continue to comment and hopefully find something worthwhile in their personal searching.  In fact, just this morning I started writing the “conclusion.”  Some people can carry on for years writing these things and on their blogs, maintaining a “following” and keeping their blogs alive.  I’m not one of those people.  I don’t particularly have an interest in continuing something like this for years on end, though I do maintain it as a way to fulfill my feelings prior to the clock rolling over into 2010.

And yet, as I started writing the “conclusion” I stopped, if only because I didn’t want to do it the way I was doing it.  Then, today, I decided to sit down and listen to an interview and see if my earlier impressions on something I discussed in Part III of the Church Finance series were right or wrong, or perhaps inadequate.  And, based on what I listened to, I’d have to give a hearty assessment of it being entirely inadequate.

I found the mp3 interview thanks to a search term someone had used to find my blog.  In the backroom of the site, I can see what people enter in some search engine in order to find my site.  Occasionally I’ll replicate those terms to see if I can find something interesting to read.  This particular day, two people entered the following search term:  “Paul Drockton Monson Oct 2010.”  Performing that search in a site – like Google – produces a result (the top result) that takes you to the Morningliberty.com website and a link therein to an interview with the very Paul Drockton[1] I sarcastically thanked in my last article, thanked for utterly blowing me off.  In fact, I found his website to not only be entirely too noisy (ads, bold font and crazy color schemes that just look like they were thrown up by a high schooler with no internet experience whatsoever.  I find it difficult to meander such sites as they’re so clogged with information that has nothing to do with the site, or are too overcrowded to make even the simplest searches annoying.  But, I digress.).  As such, I didn’t really give too much thought to his site, or his information (though the latter was largely due to information that couldn’t be verified anywhere else).

And yet, it turns out that his blowing me off (and his insanely annoying website) may have been the best thing for me as it provided me with an opportunity to find an interesting connection that I may have otherwise overlooked.  Prior to getting to that connection, I’d encourage everyone to at least listen to Drockton’s interview.  It’s 2 hours in length, but I feel it’s a good way to get to know someone and see/hear for yourself what they’re saying and whether they are someone worth listening to.  Part 2 is likely more useful, though you will miss out on some of the background behind how Drockton came to this stage of life.  If I may assert, I find it’s much easier to dismiss someone (like me) who only writes something, somewhere on some topic.  Getting to listen to some interview with that same person, though, gives everyone a chance to listen to a voice, a frequency and see if your impressions of digital ink match up with the actual voice.  And, I must say, listening to Drockton was well worth the 2 hours.  He came off a likeable, normal person who’s been through some small measure of hell for what he felt like he should expose.

Now, that being said, I found a couple of interesting comparisons on Drockton’s website that I thought I’d peruse here, if only for a couple of paragraphs.[2] I took a total of 6 buildings or developments to compare to the City Creek project that is currently being developed by the LDS church in downtown Salt Lake City.  The following represents those comparisons:

Building 1:  Taipai 101, Taipai, Taiwan[3]


· Built in 2004

· 101 floors tall (1,667 feet)

· Total Cost:  $1.8 billion, or $405/square foot

· Total Square Feet:  4,440,100

· Interesting tidbit:  The tower’s design specifications are based on the number ‘8’, a lucky number in traditional Chinese culture. The design and planning of the tower was carried out by a Feng Shui master. The elevators in the building are the fastest in the world, rising at 1008 metres per minute (60.48 km/hour) and descending at 610 m/min (36.6 km/hour).  The Taiwan Stock exchange is housed in this building

Building 2: Petronas Twin Towers – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia[4]


· Built in 1998

· 88 floors tall (1,483 feet)

· Total square feet:  4,252,000

· Total Cost:  $1.6 billion, or $376/square foot

· Interesting tidbit: The towers are the world’s tallest twin buildings. Completed in 1998, they are connected on the 41st and 42nd floors by a sky bridge, which was designed as a safety corridor. The skybridge constructed by Kukdong Engineering & Construction between the two towers is the highest 2-story bridge in the world. Petronas Towers, designed by Argentine architect Cesar Pelli, has a beautiful blend of Islamic art, design and architecture.

Building 3:  Sears Tower (now known as the Willis Tower) – Chicago, Illinois[5]


· Built in 1974

· 1,451 feet tall

· Total Cost:  $150 million ($645.3 million in 2009 dollars, or $142/square foot)

· Total Square Feet:  4,560,000

Building 4:  Burj Khalifa – Dubai, United Arab Emirates[6]


· Built in 2009.  Officially opened on 4 January 2010.

· 2,717 feet tall (tallest manmade building ever built)

· Total Cost:  $1.5 billion, or $450/square foot

· Total Square Feet:  3,331,100

· Interesting tidbits:  holds the current world records for (a) tallest skyscraper, (b) tallest structure ever built, (c) building with the most floors, (d) world’s fastest elevator, (e) highest outdoor observation deck – 124th floor, (f) world’s highest mosque – 158th floor, and (g) world’s highest swimming pool – 76th floor.  The Burj Khalifa is also home to a $217 million fountain that is illuminated by some 6,600 lights and 50 colored projectors.

Building (Development, really) 5:  Mohammed Bin Zayed City Development – Dubai, United Arab Emirates [7]


· Built in 2012 (estimated).  Construction started in 2009.

· Project will consist of 349 residential towers, all between 12 and 22 stories tall.[8]

· Project will included public, commercial, retail and recreational facilities

· Total Residential Units:  50,000 (to house approximately 85,000 people.)

· Project will include infrastructure, landscaping and community amenities

· Project will cover approximately 5,000,000 square meters (53.8 million square feet).

· Total Cost:  $7.1 billion, or $132/square foot

Building (Development, really) 6:  City Center – Las Vegas, Nevada[9]


· Opened in 2009.

· Total size:  76 acres (1,560,500 square meters, or 16,797,000 square feet)

· Total cost:  $11 billion, or $655 per square foot.

· Features a Tram with a 2,100 foot elevated track which can handle 3,266 passengers per hour in each direction, a 6,900 car parking garage, approximately 5,000 hotel rooms and 2,400 condominium units.  All of the buildings are LEED certified “Gold.”

Building 7:  Atlantis – Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  • Opened in 2008
  • Total cost: $1.5 billion ($750k per hotel room)
  • Total size: 2,000 hotel rooms + 20,000 sq. ft. of retail space.  Approx. 114 acres in size.
  • Two towers:  one 18 story tower and one 28 story tower

Building (Development, really) 8:  City Creek Center – Salt Lake City, Utah[10]

· Total size:  20 acres – 2.5 city blocks (81,000 square meters) .

· Total residential units:  700 (to house approximately 1,200 people, or 1.4% of the total size of the Bin Zayed project).

· Total retail space:  2,274,000 square feet

· Total (estimated) cost:  $6.0 billion (or 84.5% of the total cost of the Bin Zayed project).  ~$,3000 per square foot (it’s rather hard to pin this number down, it seems.  Taubman lists the overall office space at 1.4 million square feet, while the Church lists it at 1.6 million square feet.  On top of that the total residential square feet has been virtually impossible to locate.  So, let’s assume it’s around $3,000/ft.  Even if we’re overly conservative this figure would be well north of $2,000/ft…figures that are hard to find anywhere).

As the comparison shows – at least to my mind – is that City Creek Center (in Salt Lake) isn’t quite up to snuff with the other developments.  I understand that certain economies of scale come into play in developing real estate (perhaps better known as the “works of men”), but even so, would you rather have the Burj Khalifa sitting in downtown Salt Lake City, or perhaps City Center (Las Vegas’ – by comparison – huge development), or perhaps the Petronas’ Twin Towers?  Sure, they’d be out of place for the most part, but by seer architectural standards, you sure do get a lot more bang for your buck.  The most expensive of the comparison properties was built at $655 per square foot, whereas the “towers” were all built at $450 per square foot or less.  City Creek Center, by contrast, was/is being built at ~$3,000 per square foot, or nearly 5x more expensive than the next nearest comparable property, and that’s assuming that the City Creek Center utilizes every square foot of the approximately 20-acre development site.

If you compare it with the Mohammed Bin Zayed project, they are getting nearly 350 towers, all between 12 and 22 stories tall.  Think about that for a minute.  An entire city for nearly the same price that Salt Lake City is getting City Creek Center.  As far as “bang for the buck,” it’s hard to ignore building an entire city versus a two and a half city blocks. The City Creek Center is only 1.6% of the total size of the Bin Zayed project and offers only 1.4% of the total housing units, and yet costs nearly 84.5% as much as the Bin Zayed project.  Perhaps that should be highlighted:  City Creek Center is producing nearly 49,000 fewer housing units and yet has the price tag that’s nearly as much as the Bin Zayed project.  The Burj Khalifa will offer some 3,000,000 square feet of interior space, while City Center will merely offer 674,000 square feet.

For the price, assuming a final price tag of $6 billion for the City Creek Center, Salt Lake could be home to no fewer than four Burj Khalifa’s, or four Petronas’ Twin Towers, or four Atlantis the Palm hotels cordoning off downtown, or … .  Imagine four of those structures gracing the Salt Lake City skyline, as opposed to the rather pedestrian development it now seems to be.

Yes, we’re talking about billions of dollars, but there is simply no comparison.  The Church is either getting bilked out of its “sacred” tithing “investment funds,” or the publicized scope of work is far greater than is being published, or some serious funds are changing hands under the table.  This is the idea that Drockton’s work clued me in on.  Some are even alleging that the Church is either facilitating a money laundering scheme, someone(s) are getting some serious kickbacks or lining of their pockets, or perhaps worse[11].  Or, perhaps there’s some huge underground structure being built “hidden in plain sight.”  Whatever it may be, what’s plain to see is that the numbers and the currently published (and available) information simply don’t match up.

In one of the first (if not the first) news conferences where H. David Burton announced the City Creek Center he stated that the church had “sought advice from some of the best minds in the country” as a way to create the best development they could.  Either those minds weren’t very good (i.e., is this the best our minds can produce), or those minds were merely inflating the cost of the budget through some exorbitant fees, or those minds were the ones crafting the financing of the project and had ulterior motives.

What’s worse – the incredible lack of creativity and ingenuity when given a $6 billion budget, or the money laundering that has to underpin a project of this size when the sources and uses simply don’t match up?

I declare a draw.

What say you?[12]


[1]Mormons – Freemasonry Illuminati Taking Over.”  28 September 2010.  Retrieved 10/22/2010.

[2] See, “World’s Tallest Buildings.”  Retrieved 10/25/2010.

[3] See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taipei_101 for more information.  Retrieved 10/25/2010.

[4] See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petronas_Towers for more information.  Retrieved 10/25/2010.

[5] See:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willis_Tower for more details.  Retrieved 10/25/2010.

[6] See:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burj_Khalifa for more details.  Retrieved 10/25/2010.

[7] See:  http://www.keoic.com/projects/master/zayed/pdf/RFS-9275-SPU.pdf for more details.  Retrieved 10/25/2010.

[8] See:  http://www.estatesdubai.com/2009/04/mohammed-bin-zayed-city-residential.html for more information.  Retrieved 10/25/2010.

[9] See:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CityCenter for more information.  Retrieved 10/25/2010.

[10] See:  http://www.downtownrising.com/index.php/city-creek-introduction for more information.  Retrieved 10/25/2010.

[12] P.S.  My apologies to Drockton for my rather terse comments in the previous post.  I have not yet reached out to him again, but have found some measure of satisfaction listening to his Morning Liberty interview, as well as a few other articles on his **still** overly crowded website.

 

Church Finance – Part IV

When I concluded part III of the Church Finance series I fully believed that it was complete.  Well, not complete, but finished as far as I was concerned.  I had dug up as much information, and tried to tie as many loose ends together as I thought I could.  And, frankly, I wasn’t even interested in looking into too many details of the seedy side of church finance.  I was semi-determined to move on to other topics, if not take a break for awhile.  As Justin mentioned in his comment in Part III, this isn’t uplifting material and certainly weighs on the mind, mine included.  It’s rarely pretty digging up some of this information, even though it may be “out and about” and readily findable.  I concur.  And, yet I thought I had moved on from it.

In fact, I had even toyed with closing this thing altogether, not because of what I was writing on, or its effects on me, but because I thought my time was finished in the “blog” world.  In beginning this blog I mentioned how I had set out to do a “one year” commitment, though far from set on that 365-day timetable.  I’m not a full-time blogger by any stretch.  I’m even embarrassed to mention that I have a “blog.”  (Pride issue, methinks.)  And yet, in pondering these topics and what I wanted to do with my time prior to some of the coming changes we’re about to see, I thought it might be best to shut up shop, leave it “live” so anyone/everyone could read, continue to comment and hopefully find something worthwhile in their personal searching.  In fact, just this morning I started writing the “conclusion.”  Some people can carry on for years writing these things and on their blogs, maintaining a “following” and keeping their blogs alive.  I’m not one of those people.  I don’t particularly have an interest in continuing something like this, though I do maintain it as a way to fulfill my feelings prior to the clock rolling over into 2010.

And yet, as I started writing the “conclusion” I stopped, if only because I didn’t want to do it the way I was doing it.  Then, today, I decided to sit down and listen to an interview and see if my earlier impressions on something I discussed in Part III of the Church Finance series were right or wrong, or perhaps inadequate.  And, based on what I listened to, I’d have to give a hearty assessment of it being entirely inadequate.

I found the mp3 interview thanks to a search term someone had used to find my blog.  In the backroom of the site, I can see what people enter in some search engine in order to find my site.  Occasionally I’ll replicate those terms to see if I can find something interesting to read.  This particular day, two people entered the following search term:  “Paul Drockton Monson Oct 2010.”  Performing that search in a site – like Google – produces a result (the top result) that takes you to the Morningliberty.com website and a link therein to an interview with the very Paul Drockton[1] I sarcastically thanked in my last article, thanked for utterly blowing me off.  In fact, I found his website to not only be entirely too noisy (ads, bold font and crazy color schemes that just look like they were thrown up by a high schooler with no internet experience whatsoever.  I find it difficult to meander such sites as they’re so clogged with information that has nothing to do with the site, or are too overcrowded to make even the simplest searches annoying.  But, I digress.).  As such, I didn’t really give too much thought to his site, or his information (though the latter was largely due to information that couldn’t be verified anywhere else).

And yet, it turns out that his blowing me off (and his insanely annoying website) may have been the best thing for me as it provided me with an opportunity to find an interesting connection that I may have otherwise overlooked.  Prior to getting to that connection, I’d encourage everyone to at least listen to Drockton’s interview.  It’s 2 hours in length, but I feel it’s a good way to get to know someone and see/hear for yourself what they’re saying and whether they are someone worth listening to.  Part 2 is likely more useful, though you will miss out on some of the background behind how Drockton came to this stage of life.  If I may assert, I find it’s much easier to dismiss someone (like me) who only writes something, somewhere on some topic.  Getting to listen to some interview with that same person, though, gives everyone a chance to listen to a voice, a frequency and see if your impressions of digital ink match up with the actual voice.  And, I must say, listening to Drockton was well worth the 2 hours.  He came off a likeable, normal person who’s been through some small measure of hell for what he felt like he should expose.

Now, that being said, I found a couple of interesting comparisons on Drockton’s website that I thought I’d peruse here, if only for a couple of paragraphs.[2] I took a total of 6 buildings or developments to compare to the City Creek project that is currently being developed by the LDS church in downtown Salt Lake City.  The following represents those comparisons:

Building 1:  Taipai 101, Taipai, Taiwan

· Built in 2004

· 101 floors tall (1,667 feet)

· Total Cost:  $1.8 billion, or $405/square foot

· Total Square Feet:  4,440,100

· Interesting tidbit:  The tower’s design specifications are based on the number ‘8’, a lucky number in traditional Chinese culture. The design and planning of the tower was carried out by a Feng Shui master. The elevators in the building are the fastest in the world, rising at 1008 metres per minute (60.48 km/hour) and descending at 610 m/min (36.6 km/hour).  The Taiwan Stock exchange is housed in this building

Building 2:  Petronas Twin Towers – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

· Built in 1998

· 88 floors tall (1,483 feet)

· Total square feet:  4,252,000

· Total Cost:  $1.6 billion, or $376/square foot

· Interesting tidbit: The towers are the world’s tallest twin buildings. Completed in 1998, they are connected on the 41st and 42nd floors by a sky bridge, which was designed as a safety corridor. The skybridge constructed by Kukdong Engineering & Construction between the two towers is the highest 2-story bridge in the world. Petronas Towers, designed by Argentine architect Cesar Pelli, has a beautiful blend of Islamic art, design and architecture.

Building 3:  Sears Tower (now known as the Willis Tower) – Chicago, Illinois

· Built in 1974

· 1,451 feet tall

· Total Cost:  $150 million ($645.3 million in 2009 dollars, or $142/square foot)

· Total Square Feet:  4,560,000

Building 4:  Burj Khalifa – Dubai, United Arab Emirates[3]

· Built in 2009.  Officially opened on 4 January 2010.

· 2,717 feet tall (tallest manmade building ever built)

· Total Cost:  $1.5 billion, or $450/square foot

· Total Square Feet:  3,331,100

· Interesting tidbits:  holds the current world records for (a) tallest skyscraper, (b) tallest structure ever built, (c) building with the most floors, (d) world’s fastest elevator, (e) highest outdoor observation deck – 124th floor, (f) world’s highest mosque – 158th floor, and (g) world’s highest swimming pool – 76th floor.  The Burj Khalifa is also home to a $217 million fountain that is illuminated by some 6,600 lights and 50 colored projectors.

Building (Development, really) 5:  Mohammed Bin Zayed City Development[4]

· Built in 2012 (estimated).  Construction started in 2009.

· Project will consist of 349 residential towers, all between 12 and 22 stories tall.[5]

· Project will included public, commercial, retail and recreational facilities

· Total Residential Units:  50,000 (to house approximately 85,000 people.)

· Project will include infrastructure, landscaping and community amenities

· Project will cover approximately 5,000,000 square meters (53.8 million square feet).

· Total Cost:  $7.1 billion, or $132/square foot

Building (Development, really) 6:  City Center – Las Vegas, Nevada[6]

· Opened in 2009.

· Total size:  76 acres (1,560,500 square meters, or 16,797,000 square feet)

· Total cost:  $11 billion, or $655 per square foot.

· Features a Tram with a 2,100 foot elevated track which can handle 3,266 passengers per hour in each direction, a 6,900 car parking garage, approximately 5,000 hotel rooms and 2,400 condominium units.  All of the buildings are LEED certified “Gold.”

Building (Development, really) 7:  City Creek Center – Salt Lake City, Utah[7]

· Total size:  20 acres – 2.5 city blocks (81,000 square meters, or 871,876 square feet in total, or 1.6% of the total size of the Bin Zayed project).

· Total residential units:  700 (to house approximately 1,200 people, or 1.4% of the total size of the Bin Zayed project).

· Total retail space:  674,000 square feet

· Total (estimated) cost:  $6.0 billion (or 84.5% of the total cost of the Bin Zayed project).  $6,881 per square foot.

As the comparison shows – at least to my mind – is that City Creek Center (in Salt Lake) isn’t quite up to snuff with the other developments.  I understand that certain economies of scale come into play in developing real estate (perhaps better known as the “works of men”), but even so, would you rather have the Burj Khalifa sitting in downtown Salt Lake City, or perhaps City Center (Las Vegas’ – by comparison – huge development), or perhaps the Petronas’ Twin Towers?  Sure, they’d be out of place for the most part, but by seer architectural standards, you sure do get a lot more bang for your buck.  The most expensive of the comparison properties was built at $655 per square foot, whereas the “towers” were all built at $450 per square foot or less.  City Creek Center, by contrast, was/is being built at $6,881 per square foot, or nearly 10.5x more expensive than the next nearest comparable property, and that’s assuming that the City Creek Center utilizes every square foot of the approximately 20-acre development site.

If you compare it with the Mohammed Bin Zayed project, they are getting nearly 350 towers.  Think about that for a minute.  An entire city for nearly the same price that Salt Lake City is getting City Creek Center.  As far as “bang for the buck,” it’s hard to ignore building an entire city versus a two and a half city blocks. The City Creek Center is only 1.6% of the total size of the Bin Zayed project and offers only 1.4% of the total housing units, and yet costs nearly 84.5% as much as the Bin Zayed project.  Perhaps that should be highlighted:  City Creek Center is producing nearly 49,000 fewer housing units and yet has the price tag that’s nearly as much as the Bin Zayed project.  The Burj Khalifa will offer some 3,000,000 square feet of interior space, while City Center will merely offer 674,000 square feet.

For the price, assuming a final price tag of $6 billion for the City Creek Center, Salt Lake could be home to no fewer than four Burj Khalifa’s.  Imagine four of those structures gracing the Salt Lake City skyline, as opposed to the rather pedestrian development it seems to be.


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Church Finance – Part IV

When I concluded part III of the Church Finance series I fully believed that it was complete.  Well, not complete, but finished as far as I was concerned.  I had dug up as much information, and tried to tie as many loose ends together as I thought I could.  And, frankly, I wasn’t even interested in looking into too many details of the seedy side of church finance.  I was semi-determined to move on to other topics, if not take a break for awhile.  As Justin mentioned in his comment in Part III, this isn’t uplifting material and certainly weighs on the mind, mine included.  It’s rarely pretty digging up some of this information, even though it may be “out and about” and readily findable.  I concur.  And, yet I thought I had moved on from it.

In fact, I had even toyed with closing this thing altogether, not because of what I was writing on, or its effects on me, but because I thought my time was finished in the “blog” world.  In beginning this blog I mentioned how I had set out to do a “one year” commitment, though far from set on that 365-day timetable.  I’m not a full-time blogger by any stretch.  I’m even embarrassed to mention that I have a “blog.”  (Pride issue, methinks.)  And yet, in pondering these topics and what I wanted to do with my time prior to some of the coming changes we’re about to see, I thought it might be best to shut up shop, leave it “live” so anyone/everyone could read, continue to comment and hopefully find something worthwhile in their personal searching.  In fact, just this morning I started writing the “conclusion.”  Some people can carry on for years writing these things and on their blogs, maintaining a “following” and keeping their blogs alive.  I’m not one of those people.  I don’t particularly have an interest in continuing something like this, though I do maintain it as a way to fulfill my feelings prior to the clock rolling over into 2010.

And yet, as I started writing the “conclusion” I stopped, if only because I didn’t want to do it the way I was doing it.  Then, today, I decided to sit down and listen to an interview and see if my earlier impressions on something I discussed in Part III of the Church Finance series were right or wrong, or perhaps inadequate.  And, based on what I listened to, I’d have to give a hearty assessment of it being entirely inadequate.

I found the mp3 interview thanks to a search term someone had used to find my blog.  In the backroom of the site, I can see what people enter in some search engine in order to find my site.  Occasionally I’ll replicate those terms to see if I can find something interesting to read.  This particular day, two people entered the following search term:  “Paul Drockton Monson Oct 2010.”  Performing that search in a site – like Google – produces a result (the top result) that takes you to the Morningliberty.com website and a link therein to an interview with the very Paul Drockton[1] I sarcastically thanked in my last article, thanked for utterly blowing me off.  In fact, I found his website to not only be entirely too noisy (ads, bold font and crazy color schemes that just look like they were thrown up by a high schooler with no internet experience whatsoever.  I find it difficult to meander such sites as they’re so clogged with information that has nothing to do with the site, or are too overcrowded to make even the simplest searches annoying.  But, I digress.).  As such, I didn’t really give too much thought to his site, or his information (though the latter was largely due to information that couldn’t be verified anywhere else).

And yet, it turns out that his blowing me off (and his insanely annoying website) may have been the best thing for me as it provided me with an opportunity to find an interesting connection that I may have otherwise overlooked.  Prior to getting to that connection, I’d encourage everyone to at least listen to Drockton’s interview.  It’s 2 hours in length, but I feel it’s a good way to get to know someone and see/hear for yourself what they’re saying and whether they are someone worth listening to.  Part 2 is likely more useful, though you will miss out on some of the background behind how Drockton came to this stage of life.  If I may assert, I find it’s much easier to dismiss someone (like me) who only writes something, somewhere on some topic.  Getting to listen to some interview with that same person, though, gives everyone a chance to listen to a voice, a frequency and see if your impressions of digital ink match up with the actual voice.  And, I must say, listening to Drockton was well worth the 2 hours.  He came off a likeable, normal person who’s been through some small measure of hell for what he felt like he should expose.

Now, that being said, I found a couple of interesting comparisons on Drockton’s website that I thought I’d peruse here, if only for a couple of paragraphs.[2] I took a total of 6 buildings or developments to compare to the City Creek project that is currently being developed by the LDS church in downtown Salt Lake City.  The following represents those comparisons:

Building 1:  Taipai 101, Taipai, Taiwan[3]

· Built in 2004

· 101 floors tall (1,667 feet)

· Total Cost:  $1.8 billion, or $405/square foot

· Total Square Feet:  4,440,100

· Interesting tidbit:  The tower’s design specifications are based on the number ‘8’, a lucky number in traditional Chinese culture. The design and planning of the tower was carried out by a Feng Shui master. The elevators in the building are the fastest in the world, rising at 1008 metres per minute (60.48 km/hour) and descending at 610 m/min (36.6 km/hour).  The Taiwan Stock exchange is housed in this building

Building 2:  Petronas Twin Towers – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia[4]

· Built in 1998

· 88 floors tall (1,483 feet)

· Total square feet:  4,252,000

· Total Cost:  $1.6 billion, or $376/square foot

· Interesting tidbit: The towers are the world’s tallest twin buildings. Completed in 1998, they are connected on the 41st and 42nd floors by a sky bridge, which was designed as a safety corridor. The skybridge constructed by Kukdong Engineering & Construction between the two towers is the highest 2-story bridge in the world. Petronas Towers, designed by Argentine architect Cesar Pelli, has a beautiful blend of Islamic art, design and architecture.

Building 3:  Sears Tower (now known as the Willis Tower) – Chicago, Illinois[5]

· Built in 1974

· 1,451 feet tall

· Total Cost:  $150 million ($645.3 million in 2009 dollars, or $142/square foot)

· Total Square Feet:  4,560,000

Building 4:  Burj Khalifa – Dubai, United Arab Emirates[6]

· Built in 2009.  Officially opened on 4 January 2010.

· 2,717 feet tall (tallest manmade building ever built)

· Total Cost:  $1.5 billion, or $450/square foot

· Total Square Feet:  3,331,100

· Interesting tidbits:  holds the current world records for (a) tallest skyscraper, (b) tallest structure ever built, (c) building with the most floors, (d) world’s fastest elevator, (e) highest outdoor observation deck – 124th floor, (f) world’s highest mosque – 158th floor, and (g) world’s highest swimming pool – 76th floor.  The Burj Khalifa is also home to a $217 million fountain that is illuminated by some 6,600 lights and 50 colored projectors.

Building (Development, really) 5:  Mohammed Bin Zayed City Development[7]

· Built in 2012 (estimated).  Construction started in 2009.

· Project will consist of 349 residential towers, all between 12 and 22 stories tall.[8]

· Project will included public, commercial, retail and recreational facilities

· Total Residential Units:  50,000 (to house approximately 85,000 people.)

· Project will include infrastructure, landscaping and community amenities

· Project will cover approximately 5,000,000 square meters (53.8 million square feet).

· Total Cost:  $7.1 billion, or $132/square foot

Building (Development, really) 6:  City Center – Las Vegas, Nevada[9]

· Opened in 2009.

· Total size:  76 acres (1,560,500 square meters, or 16,797,000 square feet)

· Total cost:  $11 billion, or $655 per square foot.

· Features a Tram with a 2,100 foot elevated track which can handle 3,266 passengers per hour in each direction, a 6,900 car parking garage, approximately 5,000 hotel rooms and 2,400 condominium units.  All of the buildings are LEED certified “Gold.”

Building (Development, really) 7:  City Creek Center – Salt Lake City, Utah[10]

· Total size:  20 acres – 2.5 city blocks (81,000 square meters, or 871,876 square feet in total, or 1.6% of the total size of the Bin Zayed project).

· Total residential units:  700 (to house approximately 1,200 people, or 1.4% of the total size of the Bin Zayed project).

· Total retail space:  674,000 square feet

· Total (estimated) cost:  $6.0 billion (or 84.5% of the total cost of the Bin Zayed project).  $6,881 per square foot.

As the comparison shows – at least to my mind – is that City Creek Center (in Salt Lake) isn’t quite up to snuff with the other developments.  I understand that certain economies of scale come into play in developing real estate (perhaps better known as the “works of men”), but even so, would you rather have the Burj Khalifa sitting in downtown Salt Lake City, or perhaps City Center (Las Vegas’ – by comparison – huge development), or perhaps the Petronas’ Twin Towers?  Sure, they’d be out of place for the most part, but by seer architectural standards, you sure do get a lot more bang for your buck.  The most expensive of the comparison properties was built at $655 per square foot, whereas the “towers” were all built at $450 per square foot or less.  City Creek Center, by contrast, was/is being built at $6,881 per square foot, or nearly 10.5x more expensive than the next nearest comparable property, and that’s assuming that the City Creek Center utilizes every square foot of the approximately 20-acre development site.

If you compare it with the Mohammed Bin Zayed project, they are getting nearly 350 towers.  Think about that for a minute.  An entire city for nearly the same price that Salt Lake City is getting City Creek Center.  As far as “bang for the buck,” it’s hard to ignore building an entire city versus a two and a half city blocks. The City Creek Center is only 1.6% of the total size of the Bin Zayed project and offers only 1.4% of the total housing units, and yet costs nearly 84.5% as much as the Bin Zayed project.  Perhaps that should be highlighted:  City Creek Center is producing nearly 49,000 fewer housing units and yet has the price tag that’s nearly as much as the Bin Zayed project.  The Burj Khalifa will offer some 3,000,000 square feet of interior space, while City Center will merely offer 674,000 square feet.

For the price, assuming a final price tag of $6 billion for the City Creek Center, Salt Lake could be home to no fewer than four Burj Khalifa’s.  Imagine four of those structures gracing the Salt Lake City skyline, as opposed to the rather pedestrian development it seems to be.

Yes, we’re talking about billions of dollars, but there is simply no comparison.  The Church is either getting bilked out of its “sacred” tithing “investment funds,” or the publicized scope of work is far greater than is being published, or some serious funds are changing hands under the table.  This is the idea that Drockton’s work clued me in on.  Some are even alleging that the Church is either facilitating a money laundering scheme, someone(s) are getting some serious kickbacks or lining of their pockets, or perhaps worse[11].  Or, perhaps there’s some huge underground structure being built “hidden in plain sight.”  Whatever it may be, what’s plain to see is that the numbers and currently published information simply don’t match up.

What say you?[12]


[1]Mormons – Freemasonry Illuminati Taking Over.”  28 September 2010.  Retrieved 10/22/2010.

[2] See, “World’s Tallest Buildings.”  Retrieved 10/25/2010.

[3] See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taipei_101 for more information.  Retrieved 10/25/2010.

[4] See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petronas_Towers for more information.  Retrieved 10/25/2010.

[5] See:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willis_Tower for more details.  Retrieved 10/25/2010.

[6] See:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burj_Khalifa for more details.  Retrieved 10/25/2010.

[7] See:  http://www.keoic.com/projects/master/zayed/pdf/RFS-9275-SPU.pdf for more details.  Retrieved 10/25/2010.

[8] See:  http://www.estatesdubai.com/2009/04/mohammed-bin-zayed-city-residential.html for more information.  Retrieved 10/25/2010.

[9] See:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CityCenter for more information.  Retrieved 10/25/2010.

[10] See:  http://www.downtownrising.com/index.php/city-creek-introduction for more information.  Retrieved 10/25/2010.

[12] P.S.  My apologies to Drockton for my rather terse comments in the previous post.  I have not yet reached out to him again, but have found some measure of satisfaction listening to his Morning Liberty interview, as well as a few other articles on his **still** overly crowded website.

Yes, we’re talking about billions of dollars, but there is simply no comparison.  The Church is either getting bilked out of its “sacred” tithing “investment funds,” or the publicized scope of work is far greater than is being published, or some serious funds are changing hands under the table.  This is the idea that Drockton’s work clued me in on.  Some are even alleging that the Church is either facilitating a money laundering scheme, someone(s) are getting some serious kickbacks or lining of their pockets, or perhaps worse[8].  Or, perhaps there’s some huge underground structure being built “hidden in plain sight.”  Whatever it may be, what’s plain to see is that the numbers and currently published information simply don’t match up.

What say you?[9]


[1]Mormons – Freemasonry Illuminati Taking Over.”  28 September 2010.  Retrieved 10/22/2010.

[2] See, “World’s Tallest Buildings.”  Retrieved 10/25/2010.

[3] See:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burj_Khalifa for more details.  Retrieved 10/25/2010.

[4] See:  http://www.keoic.com/projects/master/zayed/pdf/RFS-9275-SPU.pdf for more details.  Retrieved 10/25/2010.

[5] See:  http://www.estatesdubai.com/2009/04/mohammed-bin-zayed-city-residential.html for more information.  Retrieved 10/25/2010.

[6] See:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CityCenter for more information.  Retrieved 10/25/2010.

[7] See:  http://www.downtownrising.com/index.php/city-creek-introduction for more information.  Retrieved 10/25/2010.

[9] P.S.  My apologies to Drockton for my rather terse comments in the previous post.  I have not yet reached out to him again, but have found some measure of satisfaction listening to his Morning Liberty interview, as well as a few other articles on his **still** overly crowded website.

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Comments
  1. Tu Ne Cede Malis says:

    This is incredible. I have always believed that the City Creek project was wrong, even a terrible waste of church money with the only intention to highlight the works of men but your article has opened an entirely new option.

    The city creek center might not only be wrong, but it might be a flat out evil scheme. The entire idea might have been thought up with the intention of simply transferring money from the church coffers to the coffers of individual members of the church. This is the kind of stuff that people need to go to jail for but instead we mormon’s keep BAAAAAAA-ing with the rest of the sheep about how wonderful the church is and how careful they are with tithing money.

  2. Dan says:

    Alright, this is good thought provoking stuff here. So, my mind wants to take this a bit further. Similar to a 911 scene, or any other conspiracy ideal that holds weight (and this apparently does) we need to “follow the money”. Where is this 6 Billion dollars going? into whos pockets? Who have those pockets been rubbing shoulders with? etc… Man I’d like to get to the bottom of this but I’m just not as talented as you!

    Good write up, appreciate it. And don’t hang it up, you do an incredible job here.

    Dan

  3. mj says:

    If the church has so much investment dividend cash (profit from invested tithing funds which depreciate for 3 yrs before being used) sitting around… why don’t they start paying off mortgages for members that are losing their jobs in this economy? Or setting up farms and homes in the poor countries… the areas where the locals don’t think they can be part of such a wealthy western church… and we are left wondering why 50% of new members leave within 90 days. Maybe we use the brains God endowed us with too much…

  4. zo-ma-rah says:

    What?! There’s a part four! SWEET!

  5. zo-ma-rah says:

    Wow. For 6 billion dollar we could probably purchase all the land or the temple lot, the surrounding land for homes and crops, build the twenty four temples, build all the homes in Zion. We could probably build the complete city of Zion and still have enough left over for Far West, and Adam-ondi-Ahman if not more.

    Where are your priorities when you have the ability to accomplish God’s works yet you do the works of men?

    I think we have all heard this warning from Brigham Young, “The worst fear that I have about this people is that they will get rich in this country, forget God and his people, wax fat, and kick themselves out of the Church and go to hell. This people will stand mobbing, robbing, poverty and all manner of persecution, and be true. My greater fear for them is that they cannot stand wealth; and yet they have to be tried with riches, for they will become the richest people on this earth.”

    But I even recall hearing a quote that Joseph Smith warned Brigham Young of his desire for riches. Perhaps this desire for riches has continued as part of the nature of the Brighamite sect of the Church.

  6. Where can I find the estimated total costs for the City Creek project?

  7. QuickEdit says:

    Chantdown:

    The costs are just that – estimated. We’ll never likely know the final tally. Thank Henry Moyle and N. Eldon Tanner for those moves, among others. The final estimate varies wildly depending on who you look to. Some have the final estimate at only $1.5 Billion, others suggest it will reach as high as $10 Billion. Most of the stuff I read suggests the final tally will be at least $3 Billion, but less than $8 Billion. I used $6 Billion for this article, but wouldn’t be surprised to see it go above or below that somewhat. Either way, even at $3 Billion we could still have 2 huge towers (I choose the Burj Khalifa and the Petronas Twin Towers, but that’s just me) for the price of what we’re getting for City Creek Center.

    Source 1: “The project is estimated to cost $1.5 Billion dollars, but rumors are strong that the actual cost has spiraled well beyond that.”

    Source 2: “The Mormon Church has now admitted that the cost of the City Creek Center Project is “officially” 3 Billion Dollars. This is by no means the end of such announcements. As I have revealed previously, the Mormon Church fully expects the cost of the project to reach 8 Billion Dollars. Their feeling is that by making periodic announcements about cost increases no one will remember that Gordon B. Hinckley stated at the start of the project that the Projected costs at about 750 to 950 Million Dollars. Also they believe that by incrementally announcing cost increases the increases can be blamed on economic conditions and/or contractor faults. Thus keeping them from having to admit they knew the true cost in the beginning.”

    Source 3: “[SL Tribune]: Is there any truth to rumors that the total price tag is nearer $3 billion than $1.5 billion? [Bishop H. David Burton]: Obviously construction of a new 22-acre, mixed-use development requires substantial resources. I have told the City Council that we are investing hundreds of millions of dollars. It is a private development that isn’t using public funds, and no church tithing funds are being used. While the scope of the project has increased slightly since inception, we are on budget and currently expect the net cost of the project to be very close to our original estimates.”

    Source 4: “… City Creek Center is now at 4 Billion dollars. This was discussed in a progress meeting just held 26 April 2010. And we’re not done yet. … [it] was our firm’s estimate that the project would cost between $6 and $10 Billion. However you will note that the Mormon church has incrementally increased the cost of the project over time, thus softening the shock to the members.”

    Source 5: “In briefing the Salt Lake City Council on the project’s progress, Bishop Burton said “good planning” and recycled materials have helped keep the project under budget. Officials have not disclosed the cost of the project, though some have estimated the LDS Church will spend as much as $3 billion by the time the center opens in 2012.”

  8. Hypothalumus says:

    Dan, good question.

    I would guess the money would flow through at least several big parties.

    The recent building spree (post 1997 for the most part) from the church has widely benefitted:

    Okland Construction: renovated the BYU MTC, Oquirrh Mountain temple, Draper temple, LDS Office Building improvements, Los Angeles temple renovations and seismic retrofitting, Sacramento temple, Nauvoo temple, Monterrey Mexico temple, Guadalajara temple, Hermosillo Sonora Mexico temple, LDS Main Street plaza and parking structure, 6 other temples built in Mexico, Snowflake Arizona temple, Albuquerque New Mexico temple, LDS Conference Center, Palmyra temple, Mount Timpanogos temple, Bountiful temple, San Diego temple, Mesa Arizona temple remodel, Logan Utah temple remodel, Lion House, Beehive House, Washington, D.C. temple, and LDS Chapel construction throughout the united states (AL, AZ, CA, CO, FL, ID, KS, MD, MO, NM, NV, TX, UT and VA), Beneficial Life Corporate Headquarters and City Creek Center

    Jacobsen Construction: LDS Church Administration building seismic upgrades, LDS Church History library, LDS Conference Center, Rexburg Idaho temple, Laie Hawaii temple (a total of 25 or more LDS temples per their website, linked in their name), Salt Lake Tabernacle seismic upgrades and renovations, LDS Chapels throughout the united states (more than 300 projects in total – chapels, seismic upgrades, additions, remodels and stake centers), etc., and City Creek Center. One article reads, “Jacobsen Construction is based out of Utah and is the regular contractor for LDS Temples. Jacobsen.com reads, “Jacobson was honored to complete the exterior renovation of the historical Salt Lake LDS Temple in time for its 100th anniversary.”

    Now, if you assume that the average temple costs around $300 million, and both Jacobsen and Okland are responsible for most of those projects, then you’d have to assume that both have been the recipients of contracts that run into the billions. Jacobsen claims to have built 25+ temples for the LDS church. If you put hard costs (those associated strictly with construction costs, i.e., labor, material, excavation, etc) at even 60% of the total project, then they’re netting somewhere $180 million off of each temple. You’d have to assume their “profit” driver is around 20% on these deals, so they’re making (strict profit) around $40 million on each temple. Multiply that by 25 and you’ve got at least $1 billion exchanging hands. And that’s not including the chapels, the conference centers or the City Creek project.

    But, even on top of this, you have architects, lawyers, and all sorts of other “fees” tagged onto virtually every development. I’d even suppose that all of these projects have a “development fee” attached to them. Back when I worked in development it was routine for the developer of any project to get between 10% and 15% of each and every development they brought forth. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Property Reserve (the church real estate arm) get that in a “development fee” which is then given out in terms of salaries, bonuses, etc., especially since it is “for profit.” So, those benefiting from “King Noah’s” teachings on how to turn spiritual growth into physical growth are likely as deep as any rabbit hole, though those at the top are likely getting much more than those at the bottom.

  9. Dan says:

    This is big. Really big. I had never connected the dots as to the projected amount being so much. The more I ponder this the more the implication hit me. AS always the verse in section 101 that reads that the watchmen will give Zions money to the Exchangers comes to mind. That is what we are seeing. The erection of a false wall and the destruction of the real walls of protection.
    This to is the covenant with death. They are kept in the secret because this is how babylon works. Grease the right wheels and the cart turns.

    But egypt will fall, her dams breaking suddenly “in and instant” and those reliant on such plans will go down with it.

    IF this is true, and I see no way around it, than it begs the question of, what about the rest of billions of dollars in business assets spread throughout the web of the corporation?

    You’re the research guy here, is there any way to fin out who are the contractors, who is on the board, whos running the outfit? This would make enron look like a mountain stream in the front of the Mississippi. I’d put an expose on my blog, but I’m just not that kind of researcher. Perhaps we can raise these questions in a public forum like a newspaper.

    They say red cross funded a bit of terrorism. The churches hands would be the KGB in comparison.

    This just may be the centerpiece for the fullfilment of this destructive prophecy,

    “Therefore, get ye straightway unto my land; break down the walls of mine enemies; throw down their tower, and scatter their watchmen. ” We are seeing it unfold front of our eyes.

  10. Info says:

    I kept a few old financial proformas from one of my past jobs, as I used to pour over them and write up a report based on how they compared with historical information. Here is what I found (and, granted, this is for multi-family housing developments, so it’s not directly comparable, but gives you an idea of what we may be looking at):

    Construction costs (hard costs) ranged from between 65% and 75% of the total project budget.

    General contractor profit ranged from between 11% and 20% of total hard construction costs. So for a project that had $10 million in hard costs, the general contractor would walk away with close to $2 million in profit from the deal.

    So, assume the average temple is $300 million. That would put average hard costs around $210 million, which in turn would leave the general contractor with $31.5 million in profit (assuming 15%). Multiply that by 30 projects and the general contractor would have $950 million in straight profit from these temples. And that’s after paying for all their costs (labor, raw materials, etc). And, that’s for only one general contractor. And, that’s not including any other work (i.e. 300 chapels, the Conference Center, the City Creek Center, etc) they did with the Church.

    Assume the average chapel costs $5 million (15,000 square feet at $300/sq. ft.). That means the general contractor is bringing home $525k in profit for every chapel built. Jacobsen claims to have built over 300 of these chapels, which amounts to approximately $160 million in straight profit.

    As for development fees, let’s assume Property Reserve takes a kickback of 10% of total project costs in “development fees.” That would mean they get $30 million for every temple and $500k for every chapel. And, with Property Reserve being run like a for-profit business, I have no reason to think that they aren’t getting that for their “services.”

    You’re killing me here, Dan! Now I might have to do another add-on. I can’t just keep adding stuff here like this.

  11. Dan says:

    you cant? sure you can. this stuff needs to be said and youre just the man for the job!

  12. Thank you for the various sources. I actually went straight to the ultimate “source” (the spirit) as I was waiting on your response and so am not a bit surprised to see the current conservative estimates out there at $3 Billion. I wanted to thank you for the work you put into all this research too.

    Dan is right. This is prophecy unfolding before our eyes. And any and all work we feel led to do as far as revealing works of darkness, strengthening our tribes wherever we find ourselves, weening his sheep from milk to meat, or whatever crazy things the spirit directs, is in fact the most important work we can do.

  13. hmm says:

    I do not doubt there may be shady business going on, but why has no one mentioned the tunnels? Given the church’s habit of going underground (tunnels, granite mtn, etc) I think there is plenty of reason to believe a lot of the extra monies are being spent on underground, unadvertised features.

  14. [...]  http://truthmarche.wordpress.com/2010/10/25/church-finance-part-iv/#comments [...]

  15. I believe he mentioned underground structures as one possibility. When I shared this info with my wife she brought up the tunnels. As I have prayed about this information I just feel more and more that very sinister things are going on behind the scenes.

  16. Dan says:

    tunnels or not, that’s a lot of money. throw in a few bowling alleys and a pizzeria, call it Lugiano’s eatery… its still alot of money going to elderly men who know each other very well.

    any solid sources on the ‘estimated’ amounts? like dollar amounts in writing, media or otherwise?

  17. Trudge says:

    Dan,

    A couple of the sources I gave Chantdown in the reply come from media – SL tribune or Des News. Both of them, if I remember right, have the estimates between $1.5 and $3.0 Billion. One asked Burton about the final estimate of cost and Burton evaded the question. I followed up with one of the writers and he said that the church is “very tight lipped about” it and won’t give out any good details.

  18. Commando says:

    And yes, tunnels or not, the cost is still way above any other property I looked into. Unless those tunnels were to represent an elaborate underground structure being built to withstand a nuclear explosion in downtown SLC or something. One of Drockton’s articles discussed this.

  19. COMMANDO says:

    ://www.gapages.com/zwickwc1.htm

    W. Craig Zwick
    First Quorum of the Seventy 1995-present
    He is a former vice president of Okland Construction Company.

  20. [...] for some elements, but coming close is not the same as fulfillment. For example, some will see the City Creek Development as fulfillment of D&C 101: 49 (“Might not this money be given to the exchangers?”) Prophecy [...]

  21. Ron Madson says:

    Thank you for providing this information. If we believe that the “Holy Church” of God was restored then we must own the warnings/condemnations that accompany that title as found in 3 Nephi 16 and Mormon 8. Last week our GD teacher taught the book of Jeremiah. So my question to you/others is “Where are the Jeremiahs’ today?” Has the blogosphere become the voice crying in the cyberspace wilderness? anyway, here is my short post asking this question? http://themormonworker.wordpress.com/2010/11/04/where-is-jeremiah-today/
    Thank you for staying around and I am looking forward to further posts/commentary.

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