Friday, January 14, 2011

Gary may OK abatements on 4 business properties - Gary Post Tribune

GARY -- The City Council appears likely to approve soon its first set of commercial tax abatements in more than two years.

Munster-based developer Allan Fefferman is asking for abatements on four properties in Gary where he's planning new businesses. He said he has the written endorsement of council members who represent the political districts where the properties are found.

"They all are in favor of it," Fefferman said.

No council member voiced strong opposition when the matter came up at a Finance Committee hearing this week, either.

"I am very excited," Shirley Stanford, who represents the 2nd District on the council, said.

If the abatements are granted, full taxes will be paid on the current value of the properties. The discount will be applied to any improvements on those properties, and it will be phased out over 10 years.

Fefferman proposed the following:

* A day care center at 634 E. 21st Ave.

* A storage facility and window assembly company at 4120 W. 5th Ave.

* A fast-food restaurant at 3910 W. 5th Ave.

* A convenience store at 1715 E. Dunes Highway.

In all, Fefferman said, the projects will create more than 20 permanent jobs and several construction jobs. Broken-down, vacant buildings and empty lots are found on the properties today.

Fefferman told the City Council's finance committee Tuesday the properties' tenants will benefit from the abatement, which gives them an incentive to rent.

"I have to get these tenants and sort of sell them on moving in," Fefferman said. "No one is really interested in moving in without that type of deal."

Two of the properties are in the 2nd District, represented by Stanford, one is in the 1st, represented by Marilyn Krusas, and one is in the 4th, represented by Carolyn Rogers.

"You're taking abandoned structures, you're renovating them and you're providing jobs and you are paying some taxes," Rogers said. "He would not be free from paying taxes. It would be increments. I think that that's one way to start building up the city."

Though Fefferman has benefited from tax abatements in the past, Rogers said Fefferman has developed other properties without asking for that discount.

"I think it'll be an important development, and it'll clean up one of the most garish corners as you go headed toward I-65," Krusas said. "I'm looking forward to it, in fact."

The council isn't unanimous in its support, though. Ragen Hatcher, D-at large, said she will likely oppose Fefferman's request.

"I'm glad that business owners want to invest in the city of Gary," Hatcher said. "However, the city is in a position right now where we can't afford to lose one dollar in property tax revenue."

The council could take a final vote on Fefferman's request during its meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.

View the original article here

No comments:

Subscribe via email to get my News Shorts updates

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner