IDB, Council to consider longer tax agreement, road improvements for mall project

Main Street Oak Ridge Site Plan without Tenants

A Main Street Oak Ridge site plan from Tuesday, without tenants shown. (Submitted image)

 

Oak Ridge Village Area Rendering

In two special meetings today, local officials will consider adding another 10 years to a tax incentive agreement for the long-awaited redevelopment of the Oak Ridge mall, and they will also consider authorizing improvements to public infrastructure, including the rebuilding of three private roads: Main Street East, Main Street West, and Wilson Street.

The tax incentive is known as tax increment financing, or TIF. It would use new property tax revenues generated at the mall site, which will be renamed Main Street Oak Ridge, to help pay for development costs.

A 20-year, $13 million TIF and economic impact plan were approved by the Oak Ridge Industrial Development Board, City Council, and Anderson County Commission in November, and by Tennessee officials in January.

But the IDB and City Council will now consider extending the TIF term to 30 years. The extension would also have to be approved by the Anderson County Commission and Tennessee officials. [Read more...]

State comptroller approves $13 million agreement for Oak Ridge Mall

Oak Ridge Mall

The Tennessee Comptroller has approved the use of a $13 million tax financing agreement that could be used for the $85 million redevelopment of the Oak Ridge Mall. The L-shaped mall is pictured at center above.

The Tennessee Comptroller has approved a $13 million tax financing agreement that could be used for the $85 million redevelopment of the Oak Ridge Mall.

The approval was announced in a Wednesday letter from Tennessee Comptroller Justin P. Wilson to Nashville law firm Bradley, Arant, Boult, and Cummings, which is working with Crosland Southeast, the North Carolina company that wants to redevelop the mostly empty mall.

The 20-year tax increment financing, or TIF, agreement, would use new property tax revenues generated at the 59-acre site to help pay for development costs, possibly including tearing down the existing space between the two remaining anchor stores, JCPenney and Belk, as well as for replacing aging infrastructure and building new roads. [Read more...]

ETEC presents 2013 Muddy Boot Awards

On Friday, the East Tennessee Economic Council named three new recipients of the Muddy Boot Award: Bill Biloski, Ray Smith, and Barry Stephenson.

The Muddy Boot Award is a tribute to people who, through their work and community activities, make East Tennessee a stronger region.

Also Friday, ETEC presented two Postma Young Professional Medals to husband and wife Colin and Sherith Colverson.

The council’s annual celebratory event was keynoted by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam. [Read more...]

Letter: Mall nullification proposal would make TIF loan impossible to finance

Oak Ridge Mall TIF Public Hearing

James Murphy, center, is a Nashville attorney representing Oak Ridge Mall redeveloper Crosland Southeast. Also pictured during a recent public hearing are Ray Evans, right, Oak Ridge economic development consultant; and Tim Sittema, a Crosland Southeast partner.

Note: This Nov. 14 e-mail from an attorney representing mall redeveloper Crosland Southeast was written in response to a nullification proposal submitted by Oak Ridge City Council member Trina Baughn to Anderson County officials.

I represent Crosland in connection with the proposed Economic Impact Plan for the Redevelopment of the Oak Ridge Mall Economic Development Area (the “Economic Impact Plan”). The Economic Impact Plan has been approved by the Industrial Development Board of the City of Oak Ridge (the “IDB”) and the City Council for the City of Oak Ridge, and it is on the agenda for the Nov. 18 meeting of the Board of Commissioners of Anderson County. I would like to respond to Ms. Baughn’s suggestion that the tax increment financing (“TIF”) funding for the redevelopment of the Oak Ridge Mall be nullified if at least 65 percent of the planned new retail square footage is not completed by December 2018.

As has been explained by Ray Evans in the meetings of the Anderson County Operations Committee and the Budget Committee, the proposed redevelopment of the Oak Ridge Mall requires a public-private partnership. After carefully reviewing the project’s pro forma, the city officials who have been involved in negotiating the incentives with Crosland were convinced that there was a funding gap of $13 million that could be bridged by the use of the TIF funding. Without that $13 million in TIF funding, the project would not go forward. [Read more...]

Letter: Chamber asks city, county officials to endorse mall TIF

Note: This is a copy of a Nov. 6 letter sent by the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce to the Oak Ridge City Council and Anderson County Commission. The Oak Ridge City Council approved the tax increment financing for the Oak Ridge Mall redevelopment in a 6-0 vote on Monday.

Dear members of Council and Commission:

Today, in a full retreat attended by the board of directors of the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce and numerous Chamber Millennium Partners, our board unanimously adopted a position urging Oak Ridge City Council and Anderson County Commission to unanimously approve tax increment financing (TIF) for redevelopment of the Oak Ridge Mall property.

This is the most critical near-term economic development project in Oak Ridge and Anderson County. It will undoubtedly impact our economy, our ability to attract additional retail/commercial projects, and our community pride.

Some specifics are: [Read more...]

Mall TIF could be worth $13 million, last 20 years

Oak Ridge Mall Concept Plan Featured

The proposed tax financing agreement to help redevelop the Oak Ridge Mall could be worth up to $13 million and last 20 years, and when complete, the 60-acre site in the center of the city could include a mix of mostly retail and some office space, a hotel, and up to 50 multi-family residential units.

The proposed tax financing agreement to help redevelop the Oak Ridge Mall could be worth $13 million and last 20 years, and when complete, the 60-acre project in the center of the city could include a mix of mostly retail and some office space, a hotel, and up to 50 multi-family residential units.

The developer, C4 Investments LLC of North Carolina, could spend more than $85 million converting what is now a mostly empty enclosed mall into an open-air, retail-driven, mixed-use property.

The redevelopment plan calls for about 400,000 square feet of retail space and roughly 60,000 to 100,000 square feet of office space, according to an economic impact plan to be discussed at a public hearing at 5 p.m. today (Thursday) and considered during a special meeting of the Oak Ridge Industrial Development Board. [Read more...]

IDB has public hearing, special meeting to consider mall plan Thursday

Oak Ridge Mall Master Plan

A city board will have a public hearing and special meeting Thursday to consider a tax financing agreement for the $80 million redevelopment of the Oak Ridge Mall. (Submitted image)

A city board will have a public hearing and special meeting Thursday to consider a tax financing agreement for the $80 million redevelopment of the Oak Ridge Mall.

The public hearing starts at 5 p.m. Thursday in the Oak Ridge Municipal Building Courtroom. It will include a presentation by Crosland Southeast, the North Carolina company that has a purchase contract on the mall and has proposed redeveloping it. The public hearing will also include public comments.

The Oak Ridge Industrial Development Board will have a special meeting after the public hearing to consider approving the tax increment financing, or TIF, agreement, which could be recommended to Oak Ridge City Council and Anderson County Commission. [Read more...]

Mall redevelopment could cost $80 million, create close to 1,000 jobs

Oak Ridge Mall Master Plan

The site plan for the redevelopment of the Oak Ridge Mall shows a multi-use, town center development with retail, office, hotel, and residential properties. (Submitted image)

The project could include retail, hotel, office, and residential properties, and generate more than $2 million per year in new city and county sales tax revenues, consultant says

Note: This story was last updated at 2 p.m.

The North Carolina company that wants to redevelop the Oak Ridge Mall has unveiled its site plan for the 60-acre property.

The $80 million redevelopment could include new retail, hotel, office, and residential properties. It would create almost 1,000 new jobs and increase annual city and county sales tax revenues by more than $2 million, according to an estimate by a city consultant.

The two remaining anchor stores at the 500,000-square-foot mall, JCPenney and Belk, would stay. So would Walmart and the Cinemark Tinseltown theater.

Meanwhile, the existing interior space between the anchor stores would be demolished. Previous mall redevelopment plans had also called for demolishing that interior retail space. [Read more...]

Council considers first phase of $1 million Jackson Square redevelopment

Jackson Square Revitalization

A concept plan by Benefield Richters of Knoxville for the $1 million revitalization of historic Jackson Square in Oak Ridge.

Oak Ridge City Council members on Monday will consider awarding a $150,000 contract to a company that could help in the first phase of a $1 million project to redevelop Jackson Square, the city’s original town center.

The contract for design services could be awarded to Vaughn and Melton Consulting Engineering Inc. of Knoxville. V&M could help with services ranging from deed research and field surveys to preliminary plans and construction estimates.

The work is part of a project funded with help from a Tennessee Department of Transportation Enhancement Grant that was announced by Gov. Bill Haslam in Jackson Square in June 2012.

[Read more...]

Oak Ridge mall owner focuses on one buyer, no sale date announced

Oak Ridge City Center

The Oak Ridge City Center, pictured at center above, is for sale and the owners say they are working with potential buyers, although no sale date has been set.

Local officials have announced a few different timelines and deadlines for the redevelopment of the Oak Ridge Mall since April, but the company that owns the property last week declined to set a specific sale deadline.

“We are working diligently with buyers, and there will be an announcement forthcoming,” said Steve Arnsdorff, chief manager of Oak Ridge City Center LLC, which owns the mall.

Mall owners are focused on one buyer, Arnsdorff said during an interview last week.

[Read more...]