Grandview Heights City Council's economic development committee is holding a series of meetings regarding the Grandview Yard project leading up to Monday's council meeting.

Grandview Heights City Council's economic development committee is holding a series of meetings regarding the Grandview Yard project leading up to Monday's council meeting.

The committee has scheduled meetings for nearly every weekday this week in an effort to complete its review before Monday.

Council is expected to consider voting Monday on ordinances approving Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and Community Reinvestment Area (CRA) exemptions for the project and a resolution authorizing the city to grant Job Creation Tax Credit agreements to businesses within the Grandview Yard site.

Council scheduled a special meeting for Wednesday of this week to hold second reading of the legislation.

The location of Monday's meeting has been moved to the Grandview Center, 1515 Goodale Blvd., in order to handle the anticipated attendance. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m.

The Yard's developer, Nationwide Realty Investors (NRI) is seeking council's approval of the legislation on Monday so it can move forward with the first phase of the project. That phase is slated to include an Urban Active Fitness Center, a retail/restaurant/office building and a Hyatt Place hotel. A single-story parking structure would also be built. NRI plans to break ground on the first phase in August.

The city and NRI are continuing to work to finalize the details of a development agreement, which will be included as part of the TIF exemption ordinance.

At Monday's committee meeting, committee chair P'Elizabeth Koelker and council president Steve Reynolds urged the attorney representing NRI to stress the importance that NRI representatives attend the committee meetings to answer questions and provide information that will help council move toward a vote on Monday.

At the July 22 economic development committee meeting, Eugene Hollins, an attorney with the law firm serving as the city's counsel in the development agreement process, provided a summary of the agreement.

The agreement lists a set of development incentives the city will be offering to NRI and businesses that locate within the development, including:

„ TIF exemptions are real property tax exemptions equal to the increases in the assessed value occurring within the TIF site on land and buildings from real property taxation for a period of 30 years for each parcel.

„ Urban Renewal Exemptions offer property tax exemptions equal to the increases of assessed value occurring within the Grandview Yard site on buildings from real property taxation. The exemptions last as long as the bonds issued to finance the public improvements are outstanding.

„Community Reinvestment Area (CRA) exemptions provide property tax exemptions on the increases in assessed value occurring within the Yard site for up to 15 years for each parcel. The size of the exemption varies depending on use. An office use would receive a 25 percent exemption, hotel 75 percent and residential 50 percent.

„ Income Tax Incentive is an income tax sharing agreement between the city and NRI in which the city agrees to contribute a portion of the income tax revenues it receives from commercial office users within the Yard site to the construction of phase 1 improvements and offsite improvements.

The percentage of the city's contribution would vary depending on when the income taxes are paid by the user, whether the commercial office user was part of phase 1 and the amount of a Job Creation Tax Credit in effect for the users.

"This is really not an 'incentive,'" Hollins said. "You could call it an 'income tax subsidization TIF.'"

For years 1-10 during phase 1, tenants could receive an incentive of up to 60 percent. For years 1-10 in future phases, they could receive a 50 percent exemption.

City Attorney Joelle Khouzam said the income tax incentive "has been a delicate section to negotiate" because of the need to balance the interests of the city and NRI's ability to attract tenants to the project.

„ The Job Creation Tax Credit is an income tax incentive granted by the city to commercial office users within the Grandview Yard site. The 10-year incentive would be 60 percent of the city income taxes paid by the user and its employees for phase 1 commercial office users. In later phases, the incentive would total 50 percent. The incentive can be for a shorter term or smaller percentage if requested by NRI.

The development agreement also includes provisions defining the public improvements needed for the project, including those supporting the Grandview Yard site, TIF site and phase 1 and offsite improvements.

The agreement allows that a governmental entity will issue the bonds to pay up to $119-million in public improvements. The $119-million figure is a limit that has been set.

The bond issuer, the city and NRI are required to enter into a cooperative agreement that will establish each party's obligations to construct and finance the public improvements.

The city and NRI will be required to enter into a maintenance agreement with respect to public improvements other than parking-related projects.

The agreement also requires NRI to construct the private improvements and defines private improvements as the increases in assessed value occurring on the TIF site, including the increases in assessed value occurring because of NRI's improvements to the Grandview Yard site.

NRI and any future owner of property within the Grandview Yard site will be required to pay service payments on their property in lieu of real property taxes.

The city will be required to use the service payments first to pay compensation to the Grandview Heights City School District, then to pay the costs of the public improvements and certain valuation payments, if necessary, related to the base valuation of the TIF site.

Last in order of priority, the city would use the service payments to reimburse NRI for the developer's land dedicated as part of the public improvements.

afroman@thisweeknews.com