Poyntz, CivicPlus on agenda

By Burk Krohe

City commissioners will conduct a public hearing Tuesday to create a benefit district for special assessment taxes supporting Poyntz Avenue improvements.

In February, city officials met with members of Downtown Manhattan, Inc. and several downtown business owners about improvements on Poyntz Avenue.  The city and downtown decided to reduce the scope of the project, removing holiday lighting and wayfinding signs.

The city also noticed that the contingency amount had been counted twice. Costs regarding the installation of a water line under the north side Poyntz Avenue were eliminated from the scope of the project as well because the necessary funds were available in the city water fund.

The remaining improvements will include replacing curb and gutter, replacing curbside concrete on sidewalks, replacing trees, new tree well curbs, electrical improvements, painting existing light poles, mid-block crossings and streetscaping amenities. The revised work is projected to cost $2.9 million.

Initially, there were talks of a 76/24 split between the city and downtown business owners. However, the two entities have since agreed on a 95/5 split. The reasoning is that the improvements, which had been promised previously, had been neglected for some time. Commissioners also noted that there are funds available in the city’s downtown fund.

The city plans to use $1 million from that fund toward its 95 percent share and bond the remaining $1.787 million, while 5 percent or $146,700 will be assessed to the owners. City staff recommends creating a benefit district to cover the $146,7000.

Downtown would be split into three groups based on location. Group 1, which includes businesses in the 300 and 400 blocks of Poyntz, would be assessed 61 percent of the benefit district’s apportionment of the cost. Group 2, which includes businesses in the 500 block of Poyntz, would be assessed 10 percent of the benefit district’s apportionment of the cost. Group 3, which includes businesses on portions of Houston, Humboldt and 4th streets, would be assessed 29 percent.

Also Tuesday, commissioners will consider a request from CivicPlus for an economic development incentives package in conjunction with the company’s expansion, plans for which were announced last week.

The proposed incentive package includes a forgivable loan of $750,000

and a commitment to issue up to $20 million in Industrial Revenue Bonds (IRBs) for the

company to construct a minimum 50,000 square feet office building in downtown


In exchange for the incentives package, the company would be

obligated to make a minimum capital investment of $8.85 million by December 31, 2014.

CivicPlus announced its intent Friday to build a mixed-use building downtown to house its expansion, which will take it from 83 employees to more than 300 employees over the next decade.

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