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Town of Brookfield to consider public financing for Corners on Tuesday

Feb. 12, 2014

The Town Board will consider the 73rd draft of a project plan for the Corners, which includes $34.3 million in town spending, Tuesday. The plan gained unanimous approval from the Community Development Authority on Feb. 5.

The town's contribution, to be largely supported by the sale of bonds, will be directed toward public improvements, which include site preparation and installing a parking structure and bridge over Poplar Creek. Although the town plans to limit spending to $34.3 million, it could spend an additional $13.1 million if property taxes from the development support it.

Officials hope to recoup the town's full investment with increased property taxes on the land, by creating a tax-incremental financing district. This allows the town to use taxes on new value within the district to pay off its debt. Town officials hope the debt will be paid down within 20 years, when the town plans to close the TID and begin collecting full property taxes on the development for its general fund. At that time, other taxing entities, including the Elmbrook School District, would begin receiving tax payments on that added value as well.

Meeting criteria

In order to establish the district, the town has to decide that the development would not be able to occur in its proposed form or timeline without a TIF district. The project plan notes that several of the sites on the Corners property have been vacant for years because of "obsolete platting, diversity of ownership, economic conditions and inadequate infrastructure."

"Given that the sites have not developed as would have been expected under normal market conditions, it is the judgment of the town that the use of tax-incremental financing will be required ... to encourage development," the project plan concludes.

Additionally, the board has to determine that the benefits of the development will outweigh the town's initial investment. Ehlers, the firm hired to put together the plan, found that the property taxes expected to be generated by the project are "more than sufficient to pay for the proposed project costs."

The development is projected to increase the taxable value of the TID by about $187 million, bringing in about $3 million in additional property taxes each year to pay off the town's debt. If the town has not recouped its costs by 2034 as planned, it would be able to keep the district open another seven years under state law.

Other benefits

The project is expected to generate more than $157 million annually in retail and restaurant sales, which would mean more than $8 million in annual sales tax. This business is projected to provide 1,070 permanent service jobs, on top of the 325 construction workers needed during the next two years to build it.

The project plan estimates the Corners will stimulate about $13.3 million in development nearby. One interested developer, Mark Wimmer, already has come forward with a proposal for a mixed-use development just north of the Corners project, on Brookfield and Barker roads, with 117 apartment units and about 5,700 square feet of retail space.

Marcus Corp., the Corners developer, has announced Von Maur as an anchor and several other stores that have signed on: Arhaus Furniture, Brio Tuscan Grille, Café Benelux, Chico's, Colectivo Coffee, Crave Restaurant, Grimaldi's Pizza, Hot Mama, Kilwins and White House Black Market. With the current lineup of stores, 40 percent of the space in the Corners will be going toward businesses opening their first store in the state, according to the project plan.

The Corners plan shows 150 luxury apartments, with an average of 1,000 square feet each.

If the town approves the plan Feb. 18, the Joint Review Board will consider it for final approval March 13. Borrowing is anticipated to begin in June.

By the numbers

The following numbers were presented in draft 72 of the Corners project plan. They will likely change slightly in draft 73, which the Community Development Authority was to consider for approval Wednesday.

·$34.3 million: amount the town plans to spend on the project, primarily for public improvements like the parking lot and bridge over Poplar Creek

·$47.4 million: amount the town could give to the project without needing an amendment to the project plan

·$187.166 million: projected increase in taxable value on the Corners tax-increment district after build-out

·$58.2 million: estimate of property taxes to be generated from new constructionon the Corners tax-increment district by 2033, at about $3 million per year

·20 years: time before the town plans to close the Corners' tax-incremental financing district and begin collecting full property taxes on the development

·27 years: time before the town is required by state law to close the TID

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