Fort Worth proposing 680-acre Northside tax increment finance district

By Scott Nishimura

Fort Worth is proposing a 680-acre North Side tax increment finance district that would take in the historic Stockyards and potential development spots off of Northeast 28th Street, Northside Drive, and Interstate 35W.

A large TIF map would create the most potential growth in property taxes that could be used to pay for infrastructure in the TIF district, Jay Chapa, the city’s housing and economic development director, told a group of Northside businesspeople at a meeting in the Stockyards.

With one major redevelopment project headed to the historic Stockyards – a partnership of Majestic Realty and Fort Worth’s Hickman family, long the Stockyard’s largest property owner – and others likely in the offing on the North Side, a TIF would be an important means of paying for infrastructure that can serve development and encourage more, city officials say.

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Packing the TIF district with spots where development is likely to occur “allows us to have a productive TIF pretty early on,” Chapa said at the meeting, which the city held to launch public discussion on a TIF.

“We anticipate a lot of this development is going to be showed, or hemmed in, by the current infrastructure,” which can’t support the growth, Chapa said.

Craig Cavileer, a Majestic principal, told Chapa that the Majestic-Hickman partnership supports the staff’s proposed map.

A small TIF map including just the historic Stockyards is possible, but Northeast 28th, Northside Drive and I-35 serve as gateways to the area, so it made sense to include them, Chapa said.

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“The power of the TIF…is in creating these gateways,” Cavileer said in an interview after the meeting.

Moreover, the future TexRail commuter line between downtown and Dallas/Fort Worth Airport will have a stop at Decatur Avenue and Northeast 28th Street, which creates potential for transit-oriented development around the station, Chapa said.

Industrial areas between the railroad tracks and I-35 could be redeveloped in the future, a major retail development off of I-35 that was delayed by the highway widening still holds potential, and the city has major property holdings off of Brennan Avenue that it could open up to development at some point, he said.

The south end of the proposed TIF would abut the existing Trinity River Vision TIF.

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The staff-proposed TIF would start with a $139 million property valuation base, and the city projects that could grow to $479.6 million by 2034.

Under a TIF, some portion of the property taxes generated by the growth over the 2014 base year would be used by the TIF for projects.

The city staff will recommend to the City Council that Fort Worth kick in 50 percent of its incremental property tax growth, and it’s recommending to other taxing entities – Tarrant County, Tarrant Regional Water District, and Tarrant County College District – that they do the same, Chapa said.

At those levels, the TIF would generate a projected $25 million over its 20-year duration for projects, Chapa said. That would help lever about $250 million in private investment, he said. The Majestic-Hickman partnership plans a $175 million investment.

Under state law that allows TIFs, projects eligible for infrastructure reimbursement include single-building mixed-use; job creators; adaptive reuse of existing buildings; transit-oriented development; streetscape improvements; redevelopment on commercial corridors; historic preservation and restoration; transportation; mixed-income housing; public amenities such as plazas; and pedestrian linkages.

Eligible expenses include roads, rail crossings, public water and sewer lines, demolition and environmental remediation, streetscape and pedestrian improvements, public parking, and public amenities. As an example, the city staff cited public access to, or use of, Marine Creek as an eligible expense.

Fort Worth wants to wrap the TIF up by December. It’s also working on design standards for future Stockyards development, a move driven by the Majestic-Hickman redevelopment project.

Cavileer and Hickman principal Brad Hickman said Thursday their group continues to work on planning

“Knowing that (the TIF) is likely to go through establishes some pretty good timeframe for us,” Cavileer said in the interview.

In October, the city will meet with local taxing entities to discuss preliminary project and financing plans and hold public hearings.

The council in November and December will consider adopting a TIF district, create and appoint a board of directors, designate a duration of up to the state-allowed 20 years for the TIF, and establish a TIF fund. The new TIF board – ideally nine members, Chapa said – would meet to adopt project and financing plans.

In January, the council would adopt project and financing plans.

City Councilman Sal Espino, who represents the North Side, will most likely chair the TIF as the representative of the district’s home, Chapa said. Michael Hennig, city business/community development coordinator, will be the TIF administrator.