The City Council on Tuesday will consider approving changes to the special taxing district that covers a portion of the south end of downtown, including Lancaster Avenue, to allow for the funding of more projects.
The Lancaster Corridor Tax Increment Finance board last month approved the changes that will also eliminate the TIF’s $16 million cap on expenses. By removing the cap, the TIF could generate an additional $17 million and bring to about $41 million the amount used to help projects, according to city projections. The TIF, which collects tax revenue within a certain area to fund improvements there, runs through 2024.
The TIF began in 2004 to help fund certain projects, but that list has been amended a few times since. Now, the board is recommending that any proposed project in the TIF boundary can be eligible for funding. Among the original projects were the T&P Lofts, which has been completed, and the massive T&P warehouse, which has received numerous extensions, yet construction has not started.
The TIF was amended to include a new hotel at Ninth and Commerce streets, the development of city land along Lancaster Avenue created when the Interstate 30 overhead was moved further south in 2001, and the Water Gardens area, for example.
Nearly a year ago, city staff began searching for a master developer to take over several vacant parcels along Lancaster Avenue. An announcement on who that developer is could come in the next 30 days or so, said Cynthia Garcia, assistant director of the city’s housing and economic development department.
As part of that redevelopment, work is progressing on Pinnacle Bank Place, a 130-unit apartment community with retail space on the ground floor and a parking garage. Pinnacle Bank Place is a project of the city’s Local Development Corp.
At some point, the TIF board will likely hear about a project to tear down the south wall of the Water Gardens and open up access to Lancaster Avenue as part of the redevelopment. City staff is scheduled to brief the City Council on the issue Feb. 3.
The TIF boundary stretches from Lancaster Avenue on the south, Henderson Street on the west, up to Third Street and over to Burnett Street on the north, back down to Seventh Street and east to Calhoun Street in the east, covering about 225 acres.
Later this month, the TIF board is scheduled to receive an update from Dallas-based Cleopatra Investments on its plans to redevelop the 84-year-old, 500,000-square-foot T&P warehouse into 343 apartments, shops and restaurants. The board has approved $9.1 million for the project at 400 W. Lancaster Ave.
The city has an easement on the property until the end of June. After that, under terms with the TIF, Cleopatra Investments has 90 days to obtain some financing for the project or face losing the TIF money.
Sandra Baker, 817-390-7727