TIF Advisory Panel Approves MLK Boulevard Project For The 2nd Time

Thursday, December 14, 2017

A TIF (Tax Increment Financing) plan involving the extension of MLK Boulevard across Riverfront Parkway to the river was approved for the second time on Thursday morning by a five-member TIF advisory panel.

Officials said the committee was re-convened due to several minor changes being made in the agreement will the developer.

It will next go to the city Industrial Development Board on Jan.

8, then to the City Council.

A citizen watchdog group, Accountability for Taxpayer Money, has been critical of the TIF, saying it is "an expensive way to finance a block-long extension of the road."

The TIF is in partnership with Evergreen Development of Nashville, which has been involved in the Cameron Harbor project.

Cherita Allen, city deputy economic development director, said Evergreen has four parcels containing 9.5 acres near Riverfront Parkway and MLK Boulevard that it is getting ready to develop. She said a building was planned to go directly across from MLK.

She also said that the city has always planned for an extension of MLK Boulevard, but does not now have the money in its budget.

Officials said, "The project is not feasible without tax increment financing."

Evergreen will carry out the project and be repaid with a portion of the enhanced tax proceeds from the four parcels. Evergreen expects the road project to cost about $4 million to $4.5 million and be repaid through the TIF in eight years. The maximum length of the TIF is put at 15 years.

Ms. Allen said there will be 36 units of housing as part of the $50 million project set aside as for "work force" rates. She said that is not the same as "affordable" housing, but still at a reduced rate.

The work force rates will go away when the TIF ends.

Officials said the portion of the taxes going to the TIF will be 60 percent and that the school portion would not be affected.

Officials said there will be over 400 jobs during construction and 90 jobs, plus some office positions, on an ongoing basis.

Evergreen will finance the road construction through Pinnacle Financial Partners.

The road will go to the Blue Goose Hollow Trailhead on the Riverwalk.

Officials said an economic impact study was completed on the project.

The roadway will be deeded to the city when it is completed. It is to include wide sidewalks, a bicycle lane and public parking.

Evergreen has control of a portion of the property and has an agreement to buy the rest from Newton Chevrolet, it was stated.

The development is to include 180 mid-rise apartments with pool and fitness club, 4,000 square feet for a locally-owned restaurant, and 30,000 square feet for a medical-related office building.

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