A rendering shows what the new apartment complex will look like in New Palestine. Developers say they need a $5 million TIF bond in order to secure funding for the project. The town’s council approved a resolution moving forward with the economic development agreement at the most recent council meeting. Image provided
A rendering shows what the new apartment complex will look like in New Palestine. Developers say they need a $5 million TIF bond in order to secure funding for the project. The town’s council approved a resolution moving forward with the economic development agreement at the most recent council meeting. Image provided
NEW PALESTINE — A resolution approving a tax increment financing bond to move forward was passed by the New Palestine Town Council after numerous delays.

The 3 to 1 vote in favor of the economic measure by the council late last week only starts a lengthy process to give the builders of a multi-million apartment complex at least a $5 million TIF bond. If the idea passes numerous steps, it would guarantee money will come in for the project to help the builders to move forward and construct a $61 million high-end apartment complex.

The deal would also give a percentage of the money back to the town to use as the redevelopment commission sees fit. The initial proposal, 75% for the developer, 25% for the town, is based on what officials feel the assessed value on the project will be.

Town officials, who voted long ago to create a TIF district to attract new development, noted the approval by the council is just the first step in a lengthy approval process. Further steps include passing the idea through the town’s various governing committees. Once the economic measure goes through the several steps, it could become final or dismissed sometime in late October.

“It’s the first step in a very long process,” council president Bill Niemier said. “We approved a preliminary resolution for the redevelopment and economic development commissions to take the steps that they have to take to move forward.”

The Becovic Management Group of Fishers plans to to create an upscale apartment complex on 27 acres next to the new Healthway Park complex near the intersection of U.S. 52 and 600W. Travis Tucker, who represents the developer noted they might not have ever looked to build the complex in New Palestine had the town’s council not approved the area as a TIF district long ago.

Tucker noted “time kills deals,” as rates and construction costs continue to increase, but he’s hopeful the economic measure is agreed upon by town officials. The builder would like to start construction as soon as the second quarter of 2023.

The request for an economic development agreement has created some division among the five-person council, who on numerous occasions have talked about wanting to bring new development to the area. Still, two council members voted in favor, while two voted against in May with one council member abstaining from the vote.

However, at the June 1 meeting, after all council members said they had more time to look into the project, the council passed the measure 3 to 1.

Council member Brandee Bastin abstained from the vote due to her work relationship with the landowner while Niemier along with council members Chris Lytle and Angie Fahrnow voted in favor of the tax breaks moving forward while vice president Clint Bledsoe voted no. Fahrnow changed her vote from against the TIF moving forward to in favor.

Fahrnow sent an email to a county resident who has objected to the TIF, despite the resident not living within the town limits, and told the resident she may yet vote against the measure when it circles back to the council for final approval.

Fahrnow shared her views from the email with the Daily Reporter. The email stated, “my ‘yes’ vote was only to move it to the next step so they could remain an option, but we don’t have to say ‘yes’ at this point. I need to get more information on the economics, infrastructure changes and quality standards to make that final determination. It is still very difficult for me at this point but I do not think it would be prudent to shut the door on them as well.”

While the resolution is just the first step in securing the bond for the builder, other town officials think moving forward with the project is the best decision for town residents now and in years to come particularly after the town’s council agreed to create a TIF area with goal of attracting these types of developments.

“I think it’s a quality project,” Niemier said. “It provides the area a housing alternative that we don’t have and because of that it will also be the catalyst for future development.”

Plans call for the project to have 102 single-bedroom, 148 two-bedroom and 32 three-bedroom units with rent ranging from $1,100 to $1,900 a month.

While a couple of people have complained because they do not want to see more growth in the area, Niemier noted growth is inevitable and that it’s the council’s responsibility to make sure the growth is positive and vital.

New Palestine town manager Jim Robinson said providing a tax break to a developer is what creating TIF districts is all about. But, people need to also know, the town will be getting tax monies from this project, something that is not happening currently.

“This is a nice project because we can utilize the funding for the public how we see fit,” Robinson said. “Our goal here is to help solidify money that will come into the town that we can distribute, and that’s what we need because right now we’ve got about $19 and we can’t do anything with that.”
© 2022 Daily Reporter