Hilliard Northwest News

Landmark Lofts could get $2M from TIF amendment

Committee forwards legislation to City Council that would apply tax money to development

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Hilliard officials want to amend the current tax-increment financing district for Landmark Lofts, a planned mixed-use residential and retail development at Cemetery Road and Franklin Street.

The result could mean more than $2 million in property-tax revenue being applied to construction of the development's community center or for site improvements.

Two ordinances were introduced at the June 24 meeting of Hilliard City Council's Economic and Entrepreneurial Development Committee.

The first amends the TIF by removing three parcels from the original six-parcel deal.

A companion ordinance applies a new "urban development" TIF to the three parcels removed from the original district. An accompanying resolution that meets the requirements of the proposed new TIF also was introduced.

A TIF is an economic-development mechanism available to local governments to finance public infrastructure improvements and, in certain circumstances, residential rehabilitation, according to the Ohio Department of Development.

A TIF locks in the taxable worth of real property at the value it holds at the time the authorizing legislation is approved, diverting the incremental revenue to the designated uses, such as funding the necessary improvements or infrastructure to support a new development.

Committee members raised some questions about the nature of the improvements the TIF would fund under the new proposed terms, but forwarded the legislation, with no recommendation, for introduction and a first reading at the July 8 City Council meeting.

Hilliard Economic Development Director David Meeks said city officials want to create an urban development TIF for the parcel as opposed to a standard TIF.

It would be the second time the city has employed an urban development TIF. Last year, such a TIF was used when Premium Beverage relocated from Edgewyn Avenue into a building on Lacon Road that had been virtually destroyed by arson on Memorial Day weekend in 2009.

An urban development TIF typically is used as an incentive for residential rehabilitation. The fire-damaged building qualified and, Meeks said, the dilapidated and inoperable grain elevator at the Landmark Lofts site also qualifies.

The three parcels that would be applied to the urban development TIF include the grain elevator and the Starliner Diner.

In the Landmark Lofts case, a maximum of $4.5 million of property-tax revenue would be redirected to fund improvements. If the terms of the urban development TIF were applied, about $2.2 million of that revenue would be used for on-site improvements, including the transformation of the grain silo into a 7,000-square-foot community center and support-services facility for Landmark Lofts residents.

The other parcels, including Sunbelt Rentals property, are not a part of the current proposed development, and would remain as a parcel TIF, if those parcels became a part of Landmark Lofts.

The developer of Landmark Lofts, Buckeye KRG, is in negotiations to acquire Sunbelt Rentals, but if successful, development would occur separately from Landmark Lofts.

Council members had different reactions to the proposal.

"I support the concept but I want to be sure these improvements meet the spirit and intent (of an urban development TIF) and we're not just funding private development," City Council President Brett Sciotto said.

Vice President Kelly McGivern said she had not decided if she would support the new proposal.

Councilman Nathan Painter said the revised TIF would remove the constraints of a standard parcel TIF.

"There will be more leeway in what can be funded," Painter said.

He reiterated the opinion many city officials have expressed about the economic impact of Landmark Lofts, particularly the Old Hilliard business district.

When asked about the urgency of the TIF proposal, Glen Dugger, an attorney representing Buckeye KRG, said he anticipated the application would not receive a vote until after City Council returns from its summer recess Aug. 26. The last scheduled meeting before the recess is July 8.

"That would be wise," Painter said.

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