Centerville schools OKs city tax deal for Austin Landing firm to build near Yankee Trace

Credit: STAFF

Credit: STAFF

CENTERVILLE — A tax deal to help bring about $2 million in development to 7.5 acres near Centerville’s southern border is expected to be done by the end of the year.

The proposal involving the city and Centerville City Schools aims to attract an Austin Landing financial firm to vacant city-owned land just south of The Golf Course at Yankee Trace.

The school board has approved a Tax Increment Financing deal for property at the southeast corner of Yankee Street and West Social Row Road officials have said has been difficult to develop due to wetlands consuming an increasing amount of the site.

“We feel that the development of this 7.5 acres … is a good thing and we’re not getting any revenue at all,” currently, Centerville Superintendent Tom Henderson said.

Centerville Development Director Michael Norton Smith said Rightwealth Advisors remains interested in the land.

“Staff is working with them through the development process,” Norton-Smith said in an email.

The city administration anticipates a public hearing on the TIF issue next month, with the agreement being in place by the end of the year, he said.

The TIF “will likely proceed after wetland mitigation is complete,” Norton-Smith added.

A TIF is an economic development tool for local governments to finance public infrastructure improvements, according to the state. It typically creates some property tax exemptions on new development and directs increases in property taxes toward paying for infrastructure improvements related to the project. Existing property taxes continue to be paid.

The city first proposed the issue several months ago, and “we have discussed this off and on and at length” more recently, school board President Jeff Shroyer said.

The city and the school district have one similar agreement involving Miami Valley Hospital South, Norton-Smith has said.

City records indicate this deal’s total estimated development cost at $2 million and the 7.5 acres can accommodate 75,000 square feet.

The TIF agreement would provide the school district with $1.1 million over 15 years, while funding for district improvements would total $2.4 million during that time, according to the city.

Those figures are based on $100 per square foot of office space, a number Norton-Smith has called “very conservative.”

Based on conversations with the city, Henderson said, “this school district will actually realize about $2.8 million over the next 30 years.”

Rightwealth’s plans would be part of a “mix of office and commercial uses,” Norton-Smith has said.

The business, which he said has about five employees, wants to construct a building on the land’s east side, city records show.

Norton-Smith has called Rightwealth a “high-echelon user” with an attractive proposal that could justify a TIF on land the city has been unable to develop since buying it as part of the Yankee Trace deal about 30 years ago.

Norton-Smith said a 2008 study of the land showed slightly more than one-half acre was wetlands. A recent survey indicated it now has 1.6 acres of wetlands, he said.

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