The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

October 12, 2012

Developer presents tax-district plan to Joplin city board

By Emily Younker

— Joplin’s master developer, Wallace Bajjali Development Partners, on Friday proposed the creation of a special tax district to help pay part of the costs of its nearly $800 million plan for redevelopment of the city.

During a meeting of Joplin’s Tax Increment Financing Commission, the president of the Texas-based development company, David Wallace, said his company has submitted to the city an application to create a tax increment financing district to help fund its proposed recovery projects following the May 2011 tornado.

A TIF district allows cities to repay certain costs developers incur from the increase in taxes their developments generate. It’s built on the assumption that property and local sales taxes will increase in the designated area after development, and a portion of that tax increase will go toward paying the costs of development, according to the state Department of Economic Development.

In this case, revenue from the district would go to the Joplin Redevelopment Corp., a city board, which would use those funds to reimburse the developer or pay off bonds for the projects, Wallace said. He said the district, which would be in place for up to 23 years as allowed by state statute, could generate up to $60 million in additional taxes for the board to help pay project costs.

The area of the proposed district covers more than 3,100 acres across more than 6,100 parcels of land within the city. It encompasses most of the tornado-impacted zone, stretching from the city’s western border to Range Line Road, as far south as 32nd Street and as far north in some places as East Second Street.

It would include several residential neighborhoods and commercial zones, major tornado-impacted locations such as the sites of Joplin High School and St. John’s Regional Medical Center, downtown Joplin and some of the older neighborhoods in the north part of the city. Excluded from the district would be a portion of central Joplin between 12th and 18th streets.

The proposal includes an estimated $800 million worth of development projects that have previously been presented to the City Council, such as:

• Housing, to include 1,300 market-rate homes, 300 units of senior living space and 500 units of multifamily housing complexes.

• Projects to neighborhood infrastructure, to include sidewalks, trails and tree plantings.

• A $20 million, 100,000-square-foot library and theater complex.

• A $45 million, 200,000-square-foot government office building.

• A $68 million performing and visual arts center, in conjunction with the restoration of Union Depot.

• A $55 million multipurpose event venue and sports complex.

• A $70 million hotel and convention center.

According to the proposal, the city also expects to use a number of grants, tax credits, tax revenue and private lending to pay for the project costs. Wallace said he anticipates the projects to be complete by 2019.

The 11-member commission — of which Doug Doll, president of Arvest Bank in Joplin, is chairman — has tentatively scheduled a public hearing on the proposal for Nov. 30.

After that date, the commission will have 30 days to take a vote on the proposal, according to Tony Robyn, the city’s disaster recovery coordinator. If they approve the proposal, commissioners could present it to the City Council, the final authority in deciding whether to create the district, by mid-December, he said.

Existing districts

Joplin already has two TIF districts in place: North Park Crossing at Fourth Street and Range Line Road and 1717 Marketplace, which encompasses Wal-Mart, Academy Sports and Outdoors and several other businesses on Range Line Road between 15th and 18th streets.