It didn’t take long for a private developer to test the new policy of Mayor Karl Dean’s office giving public assistance to a private retail development.
Earlier this week, Dean reached an agreement on a tax increment financing deal that will provide $12 million in tax breaks for Foursquare Properties Inc. to redevelop the Belleveue Center property.
This morning, development firm Newton Oldacre McDonald said it deserves Metro funds, too. The developers of the $125 million mixed-use Nashville West development say their investment meets the threshold spelled out by Metro Finance Director Rich Riebeling and should be eligible for retroactive TIF funds to be distributed.
“If a local public policy decision is made in favor of assisting retail developments, Nashville West should warrant incredibly strong consideration,” the letter from Newton Oldacre McDonald states. “We simply want an even playing field; thus, we would like to request reimbursement for our $6.65 million spent on public sector improvements.
“A reimbursement agreement with Nashville Metro Government seems to be a possible structure, as the public improvements could be repaid from revenue stemming from the development.”
Amid fears that future retail developers would regularly seek to use TIF funds for their projects, Riebeling designed a threshold for private developers to meet. The policy states that, in order to receive Metro TIF funds, the project’s public benefit must match the amount of the TIF, the property must be under-performing and there must be significant private investment.
The Bellevue mall property, which will include a $12 million public library, has lost about $40 million in value and Foursquare is putting about $130 million into the deal.
Newton Oldacre McDonald says Nashville West meets the same criteria. The firm's letter says its $6.65 million investment in public-benefit projects consists of infrastructure improvements around Nashville West in addition to $1.85 million for the development of a park.
Along with the letter the company also included an economic impact study available here