City pledges TIF revenue for downtown project

An artist’s rendition of the Columbus downtown multifamily urban grocer project.

Republic file photo

City officials have approved another step in the city’s contribution to the downtown multifamily urban grocer project.

The Columbus Redevelopment Commission approved a resolution pledging tax increment revenues to pay economic development tax increment revenue bonds.

Earlier this month, Columbus City Council approved issuing up to $11 million in bonds for the mixed-use development.

“The redevelopment’s role in this resolution would be to pledge the Central TIF to the repayment of the bond,” said Bruce Donaldson with Barnes & Thornburg.

According to a memo from Redevelopment Director Heather Pope, the estimated cost of the mixed use development is about $40 million and the developer, Flaherty & Collins, will pay about 71% of the cost.

The city agreed to invest $11.8 million into the development under the project agreement, Donaldson said. City officials have said in the past that the development’s property tax dollars will reimburse the city for its contribution. The redevelopment commission has also committed to selling property for the development at minimal cost to the developer.

The multifamily urban grocer development will include approximately 200 market rate apartments and an urban grocer facility at the southeast corner of Lafayette Avenue and Second Street.

The endeavor started out as part of a larger joint project. Originally, when the city was considering developers for its hotel conference center project, companies were told that they could get “bonus points” if they brought a multifamily urban grocer partner to the city as well.

For the hotel conference center development, the city chose Sprague Hotel Developers, who partnered with Flaherty & Collins (with the latter company providing the multifamily urban grocer piece).

However, because of the pandemic, the multifamily urban grocer project and the city’s plans for a hotel conference center were later split off into two separate projects, rather than taking place simultaneously.

In updating the commission on the multifamily urban grocer’s progress, Pope reported that utilities details are being determined, and a subdivision application is in the works so that property lines can be vacated before construction.

She added that the Indiana Brownfields Program has remediated the former Bob’s Car Wash location, which is part of the project site.

“We are awaiting their ‘no further action’ letter,” said Pope. “Their ‘no further action’ letters are about 150 days out. So we will not get that letter in our hands prior to closing. However, that should not hold up the closing, which is still anticipated to take place around Dec. 15.”