Tuesday, Apr 24, 2018
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Maumee mulls bid to redevelop existing business, industrial areas

In a bid to promote redevelopment in some of the city's existing commercial and industrial areas, Maumee's council is considering a major expansion of one of its community reinvestment areas.

Council last week authorized a request from John Jezak, city administrator, to notify the affected school districts - Maumee, Anthony Wayne, and Springfield - about the proposed expansion of Community Reinvestment Area No. 1.

Areas to be added include existing commercial and industrial properties along Conant Street and Reynolds Road that would allow the city to offer tax incentives to encourage reinvestment in this strategic corridor, Mr. Jezak stated in a letter to Mayor Tim Wagener and council members.

Important business centers that would be included in the expanded CRA include Uptown Maumee, Golden Gate, Sophia Street, Ford Street, and Chesterfield Plaza, according to Mr. Jezak who said this would be a dramatic expansion.

The closing of the Food Town store in the Golden Gate shopping center sparked the city's interest in extending the CRA boundaries. Maumee was looking for a way to stimulate redevelopment in Golden Gate, officials said. After reviewing the Golden Gate shopping center, officials decided to include “this whole corridor,” Mr. Jezak said.

Maumee took similar action to try to encourage redevelopment in Parkway Plaza and Holiday Plaza when city officials created the Community Reinvestment Area No. 2 in the Detroit Avenue and River Road area last year.

The expanded area for CRA No. 1 would include the shopping center near Cornerstone Church, Mr. Jezak said. “We have a lot of potential over there,” he said, noting that there are other older, long-vacant buildings in the expanded territory that could be renovated or torn down to make way for new structures.

It will take some time to set up the expanded area. School districts are being notified because tax abatements can be granted to commercial and industrial firms in the reinvestment areas, a move that can affect school finances.

As in the past, the city will use a negotiation team to ensure participation of the affected school boards, according to Mr. Jezak. The city, he said, has a long-standing policy to keep “them whole across the board. I see no reason to depart from that.”

After the schools are notified, council will be asked to give the go ahead to petition the state of Ohio for the expansion. Meanwhile, he is working on a revised legal description of the CRA and said an updated housing study will be needed, among other technical aspects. Council could decide in July whether to petition for approval, he said.

He emphasized that tax abatements would have to be requested by firms in the CRA, and council would consider each request on its own merits before deciding whether to grant the abatement.

“CRA is another enticement. It is a tax incentive to encourage growth,” he said.

With discussions in recent months about the Mall at Fallen Timbers and possible big-box retailers locating in Maumee, coupled with discussions about possible tax incentives for major developers, Mr. Jezak said it makes far more sense to offer incentives in existing commercial and industrial areas, “rather than doing that for a greenfield site and neglecting what we have.”

He noted that single-family homes would not be eligible for tax incentives, but multi-family housing would be considered as commercial and could be eligible. Also, zoning would not change in the expanded CRA.

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