Lincoln Bold developers aim to secure $24 million in TIF for planned high-rise

The Lincoln City Council is set to make a major decision for the future of Lincoln’s largest ever private building project on Monday.
Published: Mar. 12, 2023 at 8:55 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - The Lincoln City Council is set to make a major decision for the future of Lincoln’s largest ever private building project on Monday.

The Lincoln Bold High-Rise could soon loom large over the Haymarket, especially if the council authorizes $24 million in Tax-Increment Financing, also known as TIF money.

The proposed building site is located at Melichar’s 66 Sales and Service, a longtime Lincoln business just at the edge of the historic Haymarket. As early as August of 2023, the lot could start transforming into the home of Lincoln’s second tallest building.

“We’re making the largest investment in the city of Lincoln at Ninth and P, and we believe in Lincoln,” said Steve Glenn, a Lincoln Bold developer.

It’s a project that’s stirred a good deal of controversy, especially among its next door neighbors. Business owners in the Haymarket worry traffic congestion during construction will drive away customers. Those worries led to the formation of the Lincoln Haymarket Business Association.

Now, the issue on the table is the requested $24 million in TIF and what that means for the city.

Lincoln has used TIF since 1982, and Dan Marvin with Lincoln Urban Development said it’s a useful tool for growth.

“It’s a win-win,” Marvin said. “If there’s a large investment into the city, it increases the tax base of the community, but can we forgo some period of that increase in property taxes to help start the project going in the first place?”

The Increment in TIF is the difference between the pre-project property taxes and post-project property taxes. In this case, Melichar’s current lot is valued around half a million dollars, bringing about $9,000 in tax revenue annually. The Lincoln Bold building, 9 Lincoln Park, has a projected value of $100 million, which could bring in more than $2 million in annual property taxes. The Lincoln Bold developers would borrow the $24 million from the bank.

“The city doesn’t loan us anything,” Glenn said. “The city is not liable to pay off the TIF funding.”

Local taxing authorities would continue to collect the $9,000 as if Melichar’s was still standing. While the increment would be used to pay down the TIF note for twenty years or until it was paid off. TIF only applies to certain expenses.

“In an older neighborhood, where there’s a building that needs to come down, and you’re going to put a higher and better use on that property, then the site preparation and the clearing of that is a TIF-able use,” Marvin said.

TIF also applies to things like environmental remediation or increasing a building’s efficiency. In this case, about $3 million of the TIF would go to the city, helping with affordable housing and sidewalk improvements.

The Lincoln City Council meeting is on Monday at 3 p.m. in the County/City Building, and the meeting is open to the public.