Gainesville wants to build on the development spurred by its Midtown Tax Allocation District by establishing a new TAD, this time on the city’s west side, with the hopes of bringing more retail options to the city’s vacant or blighted shopping centers.
The City Council will vote to establish the Westside TAD and approve a redevelopment plan for the area at Tuesday’s meeting. A public hearing will be held about the redevelopment plan.
The move will abolish the city’s current TAD serving the Lakeshore Mall property, but the mall will still be eligible for the Westside TAD funds.
Several shopping centers or vacant lots are encompassed in the 344-acre district, which would stretch behind Lakeshore Mall along Shallowford Road, then continue to include several parcels along Browns Bridge Road, Atlanta Highway and Pearl Nix Parkway.
Retail development is the focus of the effort, city officials said.
“We really want to focus this TAD on some retail areas and retail development,” Assistant City Manager Angela Sheppard said. “… One of the great things is to think about bringing our retail back into town where we have existing infrastructure, reduce some of the sprawl, spread out some of the traffic so everybody is not trying to go on the same stretch of road to do their shopping.”
The creation of the Westside TAD could increase the redevelopment area’s taxable value from $133.3 million to $483.5 million, according to the redevelopment plan. That would bring in about $3.4 million in new property tax receipts annually, supporting TAD funding for up to $53 million. The area represented about 3 percent of Gainesville’s tax digest in 2018.
According to the redevelopment plan, of the 136 buildings in the focus area, only 20 have been built since 1978. Lakeshore Mall, which the plan identifies as being a centerpiece of the proposed TAD, has declined from a tax value of $28.9 million in 2017 to $7.1 million in 2018.
Gainesville’s Midtown TAD, which includes the downtown square, has helped fund several projects, including an expansion to the Main Street parking deck, Carroll Daniel Construction’s new headquarters and the Parkside on the Square development.
“The TAD that we adopted back in 2006 for midtown, we were heading into the recession and not a lot happened, but I think we’ve seen recently with the announcement of downtown projects, midtown projects, that TAD is a huge reason why a lot of that stuff has happened,” said Rusty Ligon, Gainesville’s community development director. “Developers know that it’s there, and a lot of properties wouldn’t have happened if not for that TAD.”
When a property is developed, taxes on that parcel will go up, but a TAD allows property owners to use that increase to their advantage. Money from that increase can go into a fund that is used to pay for improvements to the property. Municipalities nationwide use TAD programs to encourage development in areas that are blighted or need incentives to draw in developers.
Gainesville City Council
When: 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 20
Where: Public Safety Complex, 701 Queen City Parkway