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VOL. 133 | NO. 147 | Thursday, July 26, 2018

Poplar Corridor TIF Gets First Green Light

By Patrick Lantrip

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The board of the city-county Economic Development Growth Engine approved a tax increment financing, or TIF, district for the Poplar Avenue business corridor Wednesday, July 25, after a debate about the use of city and county property tax revenue in a corridor with an estimated $1 billion in appraised property.

“Part of the point of this is protecting the goose that lays the golden egg,” Dexter Muller, owner and principal of Pinnacle Planning Advisors, told the EDGE board. “This is where we recruit a lot of the new companies that come to Memphis and there’s a stiff completion for these, so we have to have a quality environment that people want to operate and want to do business in.”

Muller said the proposed improvements to the public infrastructure in the Poplar Corridor from roughly Yates to Kirby are necessary to create growth and new opportunities.

A group of prominent property owners have joined together to form the Poplar Corridor Business District Association in an effort to improve the area’s public infrastructure. On Wednesday, July 25, the owners made their case to the EDGE board to create a TIF district that stretches along Poplar Avenue from roughly Yates to Kirby. (EDGE)

“We’ve identified parcels that are developable that we believe will take place once these improvements are made,” he said.

The nonprofit Poplar Corridor Business District Association, which applied for the TIF designation, wants to facilitate several projects within the Poplar Corridor Business District, including a mixed-use development consisting of office, retail and a hotel on Briarcrest Avenue; an office development on   International Place; an office development at 860 Ridge Lake Blvd.; a senior living apartment development at 6300 Briarcrest Ave.; and a mixed-use development consisting of office, retail and hotel at 5900 Poplar Ave, according to the documents submitted to EDGE.

“This area contains the largest concentration of Class A office (space) in our region,” Highwoods vice president Steve Guinn said. “It’s also a major hub of retail and service buildings that serves approximately 34,000 employees on a daily basis.”

Not everyone on the EDGE board was sure a TIF would be the best method to enhance the public infrastructure.

Specifically, Memphis City Councilman Martavius Jones took issue with the Poplar Corridor Business District Association’s lack of an official request for improvements before applying for the TIF along with the area’s lack of blight.

“There has not been an ask of the city or the county for these improvements,” Jones said. “So it’s not like they came to the city or came to the county and we told them ‘no.’”

EDGE’s legal counsel, Mark Beutelschies, said that while blight remediation is a requirement for TIFs from certain types of organizations, TIFs from EDGE do not have a blight requirement because of EDGE’s status as an industrial development board.

The EDGE board unanimously voted to advance the Poplar Corridor TIF application, with the City Council and County Commission voting on it next – specifically the economic impact plan required for TIF designation.

In other action, JNJ Logistics LLC was awarded a 15-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes incentive to move from its Getwell Road location and invest $20.5 million to redevelop the Delta Square shopping center on American Way into its new corporate headquarters.

The move will retain 290 existing employees and create 222 net new jobs with an average annual wage of $64,410.

Over the term of 15-year PILOT, EDGE staff projects more than $35.5 million in local tax revenues will be generated while saving JNJ $5.8 million.

PROPERTY SALES 107 331 6,877
MORTGAGES 60 239 4,368
BUILDING PERMITS 190 508 16,423
BANKRUPTCIES 22 136 3,532