Monday, February 18, 2013

Tanger outlet mall wants public money

The developers for the much-ballyhooed Tanger/Simon outlet mall proposed for southwest Mecklenburg County are seeking some $5 million in property tax rebates from the city and the county. The Charlotte City Council a few minutes ago voted unanimously to send the proposal to its Economic Development Committee, which meets Thursday.

(Update, Tuesday, Feb. 19: Read more about the request in this article in today's Charlotte Observer. "Developer seeks $5 million in tax breaks for Steele Creek outlet mall." For those who don't see the physical newspaper, this was the biggest front-page headline, making it the lead Page 1 article.)

Attorney Jeff Brown, who represents the developers, told me the request is for $5.1 million, to be repaid over 10 years, plus 3.2 percent interest. In other words, the developer would be paid through the expected increase in property tax revenues if the shopping center is built. The site is in unincorporated Mecklenburg County, not yet inside the city limits, although it's expected to be annexed through voluntary annexation.

It's not unusual for the City Council to grant such arrangements, especially if a developer puts in infrastructure such as new street improvements. However, the county has been wary of entering such arrangements, especially for retail developments. One high-ranking county official said it would be the first time that sort of incentive has been given for retail; I'm sitting in a City Council meeting and can't check that out this minute.

The Mecklenburg board of county commissioners is scheduled to discuss the request Tuesday, Brown said.
Here's more on the outlet mall.
And here's a link to the rezoning request. At the public hearing (going on right now) on the rezoning, the Steele Creek Residents' Association said they're OK with the rezoning.

Sitting right in front of me is a row of city and county water quality and erosion-control staffers, including Rusty Rozzelle, who heads the county's water quality section, and John Geer, who heads the city's erosion control department.  They've not spoken yet, so they may just be here in case questions arise.

But here's a link to a strong article in Sunday's Charlotte Observer, by environmental reporter Bruce Henderson, about how development in southwest Mecklenburg has all but destroyed Brown's Cove.
The underlying message is that even when developers follow "the rules" by and large, sedimentation still destroys the lake's coves. Council member Michael Barnes just said that he's seen the silt fences and seen the mud sometimes just overrun them. The anti-Tanger segment of the audience just applauded. And Rusty Rozzelle, sitting in front of me, nodded his head at that applause.

Dale Stewart of the site-plannng firm LandDesign is now describing the extra water protection measures they are planning. LandDesign's Meg Nealon sits on the Charlotte planning commission, which will make a recommendation to the City Council on this proposal. Why is the city taking the lead on a development not in the city limits? Because so little undeveloped county land remains that is not inside Charlotte but is inside the city's so-called "sphere of influence," (the area eventually to be annexed) that the county has agreed to let the city have planning and zoning jurisdiction in those areas.  


Anonymous said...

So does that mean that now every shopping center developer will want financing help from the City? How will they tell the next guy "no" when they were so quick to open the taxpayer's pockets to these guys? Yes I know it's some sort of sleight of hand called a 'TIF' but if it wasn't going to this developer, these tax dollars would be in the general fund and could be used anywhere in Charlotte to benifit all citizens instead of this one developer. Just sayin'....

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