News and Tribune

Clark County

January 26, 2006

Town Center takes leap forward

Developer will be on the hook for financing

The city of Jeffersonville’s financial aid package for the Jeffersonville Town Center was unveiled Wednesday, drawing encouraged responses from members of the City Council and Redevelopment Commission.

Thomas K. “Buddy” Downs, of the Indianapolis law firm Ice Miller, presented a plan that will include up to $7 million in support from the city, drawn from Tax Increment Finance dollars.

Cincinnati-based Vision Land Development and Floyds Knobs’ Koetter Construction plan to build a $130 million retail and office development that will straddle Veterans Parkway, immediately west of Hamburg Pike.

According to the plan Downs presented Wednesday, up to $5 million in bonds will be dedicated to the development on the south side of Veterans Parkway, while an additional $2 million will be earmarked for the north side.

The bonds could close in late March, based on a tentative schedule Downs provided. Before the sale, a pair of public hearings would have to take place: one in late February to carve the Jeffersonville Town Center from the Inner City Road TIF District, and one in early March that will directly address citizens’ reactions to the bonds.

Vision President Kent Arnold will either purchase the bonds himself or through an entity in which he holds “significant equity.” If the Tax Increment Finance District doesn’t generate enough money to make the bond payments, Arnold will be responsible for making up the shortfall.

“If there’s not enough TIF, the developer repays the bond,” Downs said.

“The risk factor is gone,” said Redevelopment Commission President Nathan Samuel. “It’s all on the developer’s shoulders. I don’t see how the city can lose.”

Downs’ plan stipulates that Vision Land Development cannot begin to draw from bond proceeds until the project is 50 percent complete. But Councilman Phil McCauley said the city might be willing to change those terms if it would help Arnold secure financing for the project.

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