R.I. considers TIF for new downtown housing

Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2012, 6:42 pm
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By Jonathan Turner, jturner@qconline.com
At Monday night's Rock Island City Council meeting, aldermen will consider contributing $2.1 million toward a planned $6 million downtown rental housing development called The Locks.

Rock Island Economic Growth Corporation (Growth) will build the three-level complex (including secured covered parking) at 1st Avenue and 20th Street by March 2014, according to the proposed agreement.

The total cost of the project is estimated to be more than $6 million with a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units (28 units at market rate), with rents ranging from $550 to $1,200 a month, with the top rate including three bedrooms, two baths, balconies with river views, and just less than 2,000 square feet of living space, Renaissance Rock Island President Brian Hollenback said.

The city-owned property -- which includes Parking Lot C -- now generates no property taxes, and the development will feature a tax-increment financing (TIF) district, which will capture new taxes that can be used in the existing downtown TIF, he said.

"This is a very exciting project that continues our plans for building a genuine, urban neighborhood in our downtown," Mr. Hollenback wrote in an Aug. 29 letter to the city, which cites past Growth residential successes such as Voss Brothers Lofts, McKesson Lofts, Clipper Condominiums and most recently, Jackson Square.

The Locks will include six lower-cost units for renters making 60 percent of the area median income (or $31,200 a year for a two-person household). Financing would not be possible without the inclusion of the units with income restriction, Mr. Hollenback said.

City funding will be from the existing downtown TIF ($350,000) and a new project-based TIF ($1.75 million). The proposed agreement calls for the city to rebate all property tax in excess of $40,000 back to Growth each year, for 10 years. The amount rebated will change each year, as that threshold is raised 5 percent annually, Mr. Hollenback said. The new taxes collected help replenish the city TIF, he noted.

In order to create the new project-based TIF for The Locks, a modification of the downtown TIF and development of a new site-specific TIF are required. The council will vote on hiring a TIF consultant (not to exceed a cost of $29,000) to undertake these tasks.

The agreement calls for Growth to start work on the development no later than February 2013, and the city expects to issue the new TIF-backed bonds before Dec. 31.

The city council meeting starts at 6:45 p.m. on the third floor of city hall, 1528 3rd Ave., Rock Island. The council agenda can be found at www.rigov.org.



Local events heading

  Today is Saturday, April 19, the 109th day of 2014. There are 256 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: Miss McCorkindale has opened millinery rooms over Gimbel's dry goods store, where she offers a choice lot of millinery goods, which she will manufacture to order.
1889 -- 125 years ago: The little South Park Presbyterian chapel celebrated it first Easter decorated with flowers for an afternoon worship service attended by a large congregation.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The Wennerberg Chorus of Augustana College has returned from a 2,000-mile tour in the Eastern states and Illinois.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Col. Charles Lindbergh has stated that he is convinced that Germany's air force is equal to the combined sky fleets of her potential European foes.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Small gas motors may be permitted on boats in the lake to be built in Loud Thunder Forest Preserve. The prospect was discussed yesterday at a meeting of the Rock Island County Forest Preserve Commission.
1989 -- 25 years ago: The annual Dispatch/Rock Island Argus Spelling Bee continues to be a family tradition. Ed Lee, an eighth-grader at John Deere Junior High School, Moline, is the 1989 spelling bee champion from among 49 top spellers in Rock Island, Henry and Mercer counties. He advances to the competition in Washington, D.C. Runnerup was Ed's sister, Susan.

(More History)