The University Place City Council has approved a tax incentive it hopes will kickstart development in and around Town Center.
Developers who apply and are granted the incentive wont have to pay property taxes for eight years on new apartments or other multifamily housing units. They still will have to pay taxes on land used for retail or other commercial development.
No one testified during the required public hearing that preceded Monday nights council vote.
The incentive is seen as a way for the city to finish its parking garage and pave the way for a second mixed-use building on the site off Bridgeport Way. Tacoma developers Kevin and Steve Berg are constructing a five-story building with 100 apartments and 12,000 square feet of retail space on the north side of the civic and library building; they are interested in a similar project on the south side.
Councilwoman Caroline Belleci stressed that the incentive could spur redevelopment of the area to the benefit of the entire community.
Were not doing this for just one individual, she said.
Councilman Kent Keel was excited about the tax incentive unlocking the private development potential of the site. To this point, Town Center consists mostly of a civic building and public library branch; the decadelong vision for retail stores, restaurants and other private investment has gone largely unrealized.
The project architect made a brief presentation Monday. Council members are expected to vote on a development agreement with the Bergs as soon as the next council meeting.
The city doesnt have the money to finish the parking garage that would serve as the foundation for the second mixed-use building at Town Center.
The city would convey the property on the south side of the civic building to the Bergs development firm. The brothers would construct the garage and mixed-use building, called Latitude 47, and then sell 125 of the 300 parking stalls to the city for public use for $1.7 million.
City Attorney Steve Victor said the arrangement would allow the city to secure public stalls at a lower cost than if the city developed them. The project would be built in two phases.
The incentive cant benefit the mixed-use building already under construction because it cant be used retroactively, Victor said.
Christian Hill: 253-274-7390