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Town's TIF gets guarantee, draws diverse opinions at hearing

Sept. 26, 2012

The town of Brookfield has received a guarantee of added support from the Marcus Corp. within the tax-incremental district that would financially support the proposed Corners development.

An overflow crowd of more than 100 squeezed into Town Hall on Wednesday to get details about the project and voice their opinions.

If the TIF district is created, the town will provide $39 million to improve the site, southwest of Bluemound and Barker roads, expected to one day soon be home to a Von Maur department store and other retail establishments. It's estimated that the development will increase the value of the property in the district from $66 million to $209 million - the estimate has dropped from the $243 million stated a week ago at a joint review board meeting - and tax dollars generated by the added value would be used to pay back the loan.

Michael Harrigan, senior financial adviser of Ehler's & Associates, the town's financial consultant, announced that the town and Marcus have a yet-to-be-finalized agreement that Marcus will guarantee $187 million of the project, effectively covering the principal and interest. Under the agreement, town officials would have the power to place a special assessment on the developer if the project's finances lag.

The public hearing in front of the Plan Commission was meant to give the panel a sense of what the community thought of the proposal.

Commissioners heard comments ranging from "We don't need this," to "This community needs to move forward."

Town and project officials said the project will continue to be monitored by the joint review board, made up of representatives from local taxing authorities, while it receives further review in committee and eventually by the Town Board.

If the project is approved, Town Administrator Rick Czopp said, demolition of buildings at the site would need to begin before the end of the year. Von Maur, the Iowa-based department store that would anchor the project, has said it will only open a new store in the last quarter of a year before the holiday season. Development leaders from the town and Marcus have set a goal to open the store in 2014.

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