A Nov. 4 public hearing has been set for a $3.8 million tax increment financing plan for infrastructure improvements on what will be two new hotels going up near 18th Avenue North and Sixth Street North.
Also on that date another tax increment financing plan request will be open to public comment, this one regarding the redevelopment of the University Mall area that would bring two major retail chains to Columbus. That plan involves a $1.25 million interlocal pledge of ad valorem and sales tax revenues to service the debt on those infrastructure improvements.
City and county officials set the hearing date on Tuesday.
Developer Mark Castleberry of Columbus Properties said a 110-room Courtyard by Marriott hotel will be complete in January, followed by a 90-room Hampton Inn and Suites next fall. Fairfield Inn & Suites is already in the area.
The tax increment financing agreement was last addressed in August 2012 when the city and county amended the document to allow Castleberry to build a third hotel on his 14.96 acre site.
Stephen Edds of Jackson-based firm Baker Donelson is representing the city and county on both projects.
The difference between the two includes a refined description of what is to be financed — sanitary sewer, storm drainage, telecommunication facilities, sidewalks, acquisition of rights of way and fees for architectural, legal, engineering and consulting guidance.
“Years ago, we originally set it up to be two hotels and two restaurants,” Golden Triangle Development Link CEO Joe Max Higgins said. “As we worked through it over the years…we gave him an option to a third hotel instead of the other restaurant. This is a lot of housekeeping on that.”
Consultant Chris Gouras of Gouras & Associates of Ridgeland drafted the TIF resolution. After the resolution is approved by supervisors and councilmen, Edds said the next step will be to draft a development plan between Castleberry and the city that would spell out details negotiated between the parties.
“At the time Mark requests city to issue TIF bonds city would consider issuing the TIF bonds making certain that pledged millage and sales tax would be sufficient to pay the debt service on those bonds,” Edds told supervisors. “Here what you’re doing is not issuing the bonds. You’re merely agreeing to pledge a portion of your ad valorem taxes to the repayment of the bonds.”
Castleberry said along with the already open hotel, the locations of the two future ones, and Logan’s Roadhouse, there is still a small corner parcel left on the site where he hopes to lure another smaller business.
“We’re a couple of steps past tire kicking, but definitely not announcing anything yet,” he said.
Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.
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