The Fayetteville/Lincoln County Industrial Development Board (IDB) will carry its request for funding a speculative building back before county budgeters in February.
During a work session Friday morning, IDB officials discussed their plans to again seek a commitment from the county on funding its share of interest-only payments on a loan funding construction of the spec building, which would be located in the joint city/county industrial park on U.S. Highway 64 East. When IDB last appeared in front of county budgeters, the committee opted to table the request as it dealt with pressures related to what were then proposed increases in property and wheel taxes.
“In February I’d like to see us go back to the budget committee,” said Will Thomas, IDB chairman, Friday, noting that the Fayetteville Board of Mayor and Aldermen gave its commitment last summer on spending up to $45,648 for its share of the interest-only payments. That commitment is good for two years of payments, after which, if the building is not occupied, the city’s portion of costs could come out of its annual appropriation to IDB.
But economic development officials say they are confident the building would be occupied relatively quickly – “Our history has been less than a year, and one was sold before it was even completed,” said Jim Neale, a member of the board.
“If we had three [speculative] buildings now, I think they would be occupied,” said Elaine Middleton, economic development director for the IDB, during Friday’s work session. “It would keep us at the forefront, but as it is now, we can’t even submit on a lot of proposals because we don’t have a building.”
“We’re at a disadvantage, not on the same playing field as everyone else,” said Thomas, adding that all of Lincoln County’s surrounding counties, excluding Moore, has buildings available. “As soon as we can get county approval, we need to go out for bids.”
The proposed spec building would cost approximately $2 million and consist of 62,000 square feet, expandable by another 30,000 square feet.
In other discussion, board members discussed the Select Tennessee Site Certification Program. As part of that, a wetland determination study done on the joint U.S. 64 industrial park is being reviewed by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. The cost of that study was $1,800. Officials also anticipate having a study conducted on Runway Centre.
Following the work session, the board met in a called session to consider adoption of a debt management policy, which the state comptroller recommended, in relation to the tax increment financing (TIF) project involving the new Hampton Inn. The policy was unanimously adopted. In discussion, officials noted that the hotel is expected to open in April. Workforce Solutions is in the process of considering applicants, and the hotel’s developer has hired a general manager who will be on board Feb. 1.
The board is scheduled to meet in regular session this Thursday, Jan. 24, at 7 a.m. During that session, board members are expected to consider bids on trees that would serve as a buffer between Runway Centre and Plada Heights, a neighboring subdivision.