The Jefferson City Council has approved a new tax increment financing district and community improvement district at the Capital Mall, in an effort to turn around what was called continued deterioration of the property.
The council voted 9-0 for both of the taxing districts at the meeting Tuesday night. Second Ward Councilman Shawn Schulte was not present at Tuesday's meeting.
The two taxing districts had been requested by the mall owner, Farmer Holding Co., to allow for a number of improvements to the nearly 36-year-old shopping center. The Capital Mall also is proposed as a possible conference center site as the city negotiates with both Farmer Holding Co. and the Ehrhardt Hospitality Group.
Only one person spoke concerning the TIF proposal - Ed Williams, who spoke against the use of the special taxing district. Williams said the TIF Commission, which approved the Capital Mall plan in October, was "an absolute, unequivocal joke" and urged council members to represent constituents, not special interests.
Interim City Administrator Drew Hilpert said city staff supported the taxing districts, calling it a "one-sided deal to our benefit."
"The risk is 100 percent on the developer," Hilpert said. "The mall, frankly, has deteriorated."
The proposed renovations at the Capital Mall would include: repaving the parking lot along with installing new lighting and repairing existing lighting; repairing and replacing the roof; installing and improving the exterior facade with "cultured stone and masonry;" installing solar paneling; repairing and replacing the HVAC units; and upgrading interior lighting, furniture, signs, flooring and paint.
The proposed TIF would last for 23 years and raise $10.6 million to help fund the renovation plan.
The CID would last for 40 years and raise roughly $5 million.
Central Bank has agreed to finance $10.1 million, while the Farmer Holding Company itself has committed the remaining $11 million for the project.
Farmer Holding Company bought the mall for $11 million in late 2012. The local company had commissioned a blight study for the TIF process that stated the mall has become a liability and is unsafe, with "conditions endangering life and property by fire and other causes."
Rob Kingsbury, with Farmer Holding Co., said the company would begin discussing the quickest way to move forward today, but had no immediate details as to how quickly the taxing districts would be implemented.