A public hearing was set for Dec. 14 to consider a Community Improvement District for a parking garage and lawn at The Legends Outlets.
The Unified Government Commission unanimously approved the public hearing date at its meeting Nov. 16.
Mayor Mark Holland said the Legends needs to be a destination.
“Building apartments to bring more shoppers close by, and to redo the west end as more of an event space like you would see at Power and Light, is the kind of development that’s going to keep this development vibrant,” Holland said. “The Legends is more than 10 years old, there has to be a reinvestment in it.
“Without The Legends, most of what’s happening at Village West doesn’t happen,” Holland said. “Protecting the Legends as an investment, for everything that happens around it is very important.”
Jon Stephens, UG director of economic development, said the new CID within the Legends Outlets shopping district would create a new CID total of 1 percent, and terminate the existing six-tenths of 1 percent assessment. The funds would be used to finance a new adjacent parking garage and lawn improvements on the west end. It is a sales tax increase for a specific use.
Stephens said The Legends is working on phase 2 of its master plan, including a garage and apartments, and the improvements on the lawn on the west end are included in this project. He said after the public hearing, they would come back to the UG for approval of two development plans.
The CID funds would only go to the garage, of which 300 spaces are designated for public use, and the lawn improvement on the west end of the Legends, he added. The green space on the west end is intended to attract new tenants, he added.
Mayor Mark Holland said the CID would not be used for investment in the apartments. It is only for the parking garage and lawn area improvements.
Stephens said some procedural changes were made to the proposal Thursday at the advice of the bond counsel, but they were not material changes.
Commissioner Brian McKiernan said he felt frustrated when they received changes just before the meeting and were not able to review it in advance. He asked if this issue shouldn’t have gone back to a standing committee first. The mayor said the issue was previously in front of the full commission, and the standing committee meeting was only informational.
Commissioner Hal Walker also wanted more time to see the documents. He said he wanted to make sure these parking garage and lawn improvement funds were separated from the apartment project, and he wanted a provision in writing that would give a meaningful recourse against the developer if the garage funds were mixed with the apartment project.
Commissioner Melissa Bynum asked if the funds could be monitored through the record of tax dollars into the UG and going out to the developer after he submits documentation of what he is being repaid for.
Stephens said the taxes are collected as sales tax, it is verified by the state, then the developer has to issue certified costs to the UG for approval. A third party reviews them, provides recommendations, the economic development office does a review of it and they go to the administrator’s office for final authorization, he said.
He said there is a cap of $26.5 million associated with the life of the total CID, which will be in the agreement.
Mayor Holland said they would set an early deadline for the development agreement, so the commissioners would have time to review it before the Dec. 14 meeting.
In other action, the UG Public Building Commission met after the 7 p.m. meeting and approved financing for building the new juvenile facility, and also for improvements to the existing jail facility and the courthouse.
The juvenile facility project was previously approved, and this action approved the financing for it.
At the 7 p.m. meeting, the UG Commission approved an amended capital maintenance improvement project ordinance that contained $24.8 million for the juvenile facility work, $5.37 million for courthouse improvements, and $3.27 million for the adult jail facility, and requested the PBC to issue bonds.
According to agenda documents, the amount of the total CMIP projects was about $114.2 million, and included road improvements, the new Piper fire station, bridge work, storm sewer improvements, and many other items.
See earlier related story at http://wyandottedaily.com/legends-moving-forward-with-plans-for-jumbo-screen-also-under-armour-to-move/.