By Sheree Stubblefield
I reached out to Brett Roler at the Downtown PILOT Program to find out about the upcoming development. They are having a meeting Sept 10 at 9am at 114 N Main which is open to the public. Brett’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
I will keep you as updated as possible. Here’s what we know so far about the new development being considered for the Downtown PILOT Program. As new information develops, we will share it with the community.
1. Can you give a brief description and purpose of the PILOT program?
The Center City Revenue Finance Corporation’s (CCRFC) Payment-In-Lieu-Of-Taxes (PILOT) Program (“Program” or “PILOT Program”) is a financial incentive designed to encourage commercial real estate development in and around the Downtown Memphis and Midtown area by “freezing” property taxes at the predevelopment level for a predetermined period of time. The eligible amount of time for a PILOT to be in place is determined by use, cost, as well as other criteria. PILOTs are not entitlements. In order to qualify for a PILOT, the project must pass a “but for” test that determines whether or not the project would be financially feasible in the absence of a PILOT. The Program is offered to developers and/or property owners with projects located in the Central Business Improvement District (CBID) and/or within the Parkway system. The purpose of the PILOT program is to grow the tax base and encourage commercial property development in Memphis.
2. Tell us the process in getting this approved.
The first step is for the applicant to request and receive PILOT approval from the CCRFC at its monthly meeting. That meeting is scheduled for September 10th at 9:00 AM at the DMC office, 114 N. Main St. If the CCRFC approves the project, the applicant must then request and receive design approval from the Design Review Board (DRB). The DRB meets monthly on the first Wednesday of each month at 4:00PM at the DMC office, 114 N. Main. We don’t yet know when the applicant would move forward to request DRB approval. DRB approval just has to happen prior to start of construction.
3. Can you expand on the tax break?
The Downtown Property PILOT (Payment-in-lieu-of-tax) is a financial incentive used to encourage commercial property owners to develop their properties to a higher and better use in situations where without the incentive, such development would not be financially viable. The Downtown Property PILOT is different from The EDGE’s PILOT program which is used to attract large industries and job creation. Downtown Property PILOTs hold property taxes at the predevelopment level for a set amount of time as determined by a grading system. For example, if a building is assessed at $500,000 prior to development and then reassessed at $2 million after development, the property owner would pay taxes based on the $500,000 level for a specified amount of time, and then start paying at the reassessed value once that time expires. The Downtown Property PILOT does not reduce the taxes collected; in fact the program dramatically increases the taxes collected once the PILOT expires. Plus, values of surrounding properties generally go up as a result of the development, thereby further increasing total taxes collected. Bottom line – a project never pays less property tax as a result of receiving a PILOT from the CCRFC. The taxes always go up from where they start at the pre-development level.
4. How can residents give input and be heard?
Both the CCRFC and DRB meetings will be open to the public and people are welcome to attend. An interested member of the public who is not able to attend could also send me a letter or email to share with the CCRFC Board members. I can print out any correspondence regarding a project and ensure that the Board members have a copy to review during the meeting. Just let me know and I’m happy to help. email@example.com
Now that this development has passed the Downtown Memphis PILOT Program, this project will request Design Review Board (DRB) approval. The DRB typically meets on the 1st Wednesday of each month at 4pm at the DMC office, 114 N. Main Street. Public notice goes out 1 week in advance of each meeting. The date will be published as soon as we know. We have requested a public meeting with the developers which they are not required to have. In the meantime, send your comments on the design to firstname.lastname@example.org