The Chadron City Council has approved the redevelopment plan for the $10-million dollar, 4-story, 78-unit Heartland Flats Apartments on Maple Street between 6th and 8th, including just under $1.9-million dollars in TIF, tax increment financing.
The council met briefly before their regular meeting last night as the Chadron Redevelopment Authority to give initial approval, then held a public hearing during the main meeting on TIF, which could be used for such costs as land acquisition.
Local attorney Matt Watson represented developer Park Street Apartments, part of REV Development, with company principal Mike Works appearing via Zoom.
Watson told the council the city needs the type of higher-end rental units being proposed and that their actions would set the direction and tone for the city – with approval showing it was ready to move forward and denial a setback for the community.
Retired architectural draftsman Jerry Moss opposed the project as too big, but after the initial approval focused on a group of livability changes he felt would make it better fit the site and make it more appealing to residents.
The biggest would move the building to the northwest corner of the property and flip it. Moss said the building would then be closer to the existing sanitary sewer and the parking lot closer to the storm sewer. It would also allow 2 entrances off Maple Street.
Most of Moss’s suggestions were popular with the council members and Watson said they would be passed along to Works, who’d left the delay-plagued internet connection by then. Works had said last week that REV had used the proposed design successfully in the past in other Nebraska cities, especially Columbus.
Local rancher Casey Schuhmacher opposed the project, saying it would increase sewer and water demand while any school-age residents would raise costs for schools and property taxes for rural residents, whose land accounts for the major share of valuation
Schumacher also opposed the $1.9-million in TIF bonds, saying it was wrong for this project. He said the amount would be 4% of the total city valuation and push REV well over 5% as the developer continues to pay off the TIF bonds from its Holiday Inn Express Hotel.
A developer must show a project would not be built without TIF, which uses the property taxes from the increased valuation of a project – about $200,000 more in this case – to pay off the bonds over up to 15-years at no risk to the city. The property taxes would then be distributed normally.
Last night’s council approval was for the overall redevelopment project with REV now submitting the specific building plans. Mike Works is hopeful that approval process will move quickly and allow construction to start shortly.
The contractor REV uses for its projects is actually a partner in the development firm, but Works says they plan to use as many local subcontractors as possible – just as they did on the Holiday Inn Express.
Works says he and his partners are excited about returning to Chadron with another project and are certain the Heartland Flats Apartments will be as successful as the Holiday Inn Express.