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VOL. 125 | NO. 204 | Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pinnacle Seeks CCDC Funds to Aid Move

By Andy Meek

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Downtown boosters are still trying to add incentives to the mix to smooth the way for Pinnacle Airlines Corp. to bring its corporate headquarters to Downtown’s One Commerce Square.

Representatives of a local investment group working to facilitate the move will go before the Center City Development Corp. Wednesday to apply for a tenant improvement reimbursement grant from the Downtown development agency.

Pinnacle is eligible for a $195,000 grant from the CCDC, which disburses grants that help pay tenant improvement costs under the agency’s Commercial Office Grant Program. The program’s goal is to boost Downtown’s office market.

If Pinnacle gets the award, it would be added to a basket of incentives that already includes a tax freeze and other funding for the investors who are buying One Commerce contingent on making Pinnacle its anchor tenant.

The investors went before the Center City Revenue Finance Corp. last week and got a 15-year tax freeze they’d already been approved for stretched out to 20 years, saving them a little more money.

They said the extension was necessary because significant concessions had to be made to get Pinnacle close to the finish line on the deal, which hasn’t been reached yet and involves Pinnacle signing on the dotted line for long-term space at One Commerce.

“It took every incentive we put on the table to make this deal possible,” Center City Commission president Paul Morris said during the CCRFC meeting.

So far, Pinnacle has only publicly acknowledged it has signed a letter of intent to negotiate a lease. The signing of that lease is expected within a matter of days, after which would follow the local investor group taking possession of the landmark Downtown tower.

Also to follow would be the renovation of the space and the eventual arrival of more than 600 new office workers to the neighborhood.

A holding company with three subsidiaries, Pinnacle Airlines Inc., Colgan Air Inc. and Mesaba Airlines, Pinnacle is currently headquartered near Memphis International Airport. The company has been looking for a bigger space that also allows room to grow.

That will be the biggest item on the Downtown board’s plate Wednesday. But it won’t be the only thing.

The CCDC also will consider a proposed façade grant for an apparel and gift shop and a developer’s request to extend the timeframe in which to close on an already awarded development loan. The CCDC also will consider another developer’s request to use some fees associated with a tax-freeze benefit to pay for streetscape and other public space improvements.

The uniquely named Hoot + Louise is a retail shop offering ladies’ apparel, handmade jewelry and other whimsical gifts from a storefront at 107 G.E. Patterson. The CCDC will be asked to approve a façade grant of $1,570 for that store.

The CCDC offers façade improvement grants as a reimbursement for up to 50 percent of the cost of façade improvements.

Greenbrier Partners LLC is developing a three-story apartment project with 1,500-square-feet of retail at the corner of Front and East Nettleton Avenue. In connection with that, Greenbrier – which was awarded a tax-freeze for the project – will be asking the CCDC to take $21,000 it would have paid in closing fees for the tax freeze and use that for streetscape and other improvements.

Developers renovating an existing commercial building on North Third Street in Uptown will be asking for more time to close on their development loan. The renovation involves installing an HVAC system and electrical and plumbing repairs, among other things.

The CCDC board also will have a general discussion about possible changes to some of the board’s development incentives.

PROPERTY SALES 41 308 2,265
MORTGAGES 47 379 2,607
BUILDING PERMITS 128 1,018 6,068
BANKRUPTCIES 53 255 1,787