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IDB to resume pursuit of spec building

Posted on Monday, December 24, 2012 at 5:29 am

The Fayetteville/Lincoln County Industrial Development Board is expected to return to the Lincoln County Commission in the new year with its request for a funding commitment for a speculative building.

The building would be constructed in the joint city, county industrial park on the Winchester Highway in the hope of landing a new industry for the community. In the last two decades, three spec buildings have been constructed here and all were occupied within one to two years.

Fayetteville’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen committed their portion of funding, up to $45,648, last summer, and shortly after that, the county’s half was tabled by the Lincoln County Budget Committee, amid economic pressures associated with increases in property and wheel taxes.

During last week’s IDB meeting, Will Thomas, chair, said the board should anticipate going back before the Lincoln County Commission in the first part of 2013.

In other business, IDB officials approved a resolution authorizing the chair and vice chair to execute documents prepared for tax increment financing (TIF) facilitating The Avenue at Lincoln Center, a development consisting of a Hampton Inn and a Bennigan’s Restaurant just off the Huntsville Highway in Fayetteville.

Documents consist of a loan agreement between the project’s developer and a local bank.

It’s been two years now since the economic impact plan for the project was approved by city, county and IDB officials. Under the plan, up to $1.2 million would be made available to the developer as part of the TIF. It allows him to use 90 percent of the increased property tax revenue that the developed property would generate to pay back a portion of his investment. Capped at 15 years, the arrangement will see those revenues only going toward a certain portion of the debt.

Additionally, IDB officials discussed plans to host the first in a series of joint city, county breakfasts in January. The meeting would give officials a chance to come together and be updated on IDB activities.

“It’s important that we work effortlessly together,” said Thomas, adding that he would like to see the breakfasts held either bimonthly or quarterly. “This would give our city and county officials a chance to ask questions, and perhaps we could get feedback from them on their concerns.”

The board anticipates a vote in January on going out for bids on trees to be planted between Runway Centre and Plada Heights in Park City. The trees would provide a buffer zone between the residential area and companies in the park.

Officials reported that construction of water and sewer infrastructure at the Winchester Highway industrial park is proceeding. The project has an April 15 deadline.

Work to have the joint industrial park certified as in the Select Tennessee program is also continuing, according to discussion. Elaine Middleton, economic development director, noted that a wetlands determination has been received and will be submitted to the state as part of the process. Once completed, certification will see the state marketing the park as being site ready or build ready, with the necessary infrastructure in place, to industrial prospects.

Also, a report was given on a breakfast meeting IDB held Dec. 18 at the Sundquist Center for local industries. The event was hosted by the Malone Co. and Novia Care Clinics. Novia creates and manages employer-sponsored health and wellness centers.

Jim Neale, a member of the board, also discussed an Entrepreneurial Center boot camp being planned for March. The camp would provide three days of classes aimed at helping small businesses expand and/or in the development of new ideas. Applications and additional information is available at www.smtec.com.