Government & Politics  October 9, 2023

Larimer may commit 65% of tax increment to Centerra South

LOVELAND — Centerra South, the new mixed-use commercial and residential development across U.S. Highway 34 — Eisenhower Boulevard — from the existing Centerra, may get a boost of additional tax incremental revenue if the Larimer County Board of Commissioners concurs with a draft intergovernmental agreement on Tuesday.

The property that its developer, McWhinney Real Estate Services Inc., has said will include a Whole Foods grocery store, a large yet-unidentified employer, and numerous retail establishments that don’t exist elsewhere in Loveland, was the subject of numerous meetings over the summer as the Loveland City Council and the Loveland Urban Renewal Authority argued with multiple residents over the appropriateness of using tax-increment financing and new sales-tax revenue to build the infrastructure for the property.

Under state law, all taxing entities such as Larimer County, the Thompson School District, the city and special districts needed to be consulted on the plan and given an option to determine the level of their own participation in the plan.

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Loveland will commit 100% of its property-tax increment plus dedicate sales taxes generated on the site to the project. Thompson schools will commit its property-tax increment as well, up to the level that would be reimbursed from the state.

Larimer County, represented at the LURA by Commissioner Jody Shadduck-McNally, objected to the project and pulled out of negotiations over whether the county would participate and at what level. 

Once the city and LURA approved of the plan, however, negotiations restarted and reached the point of a proposed intergovernmental agreement that the county will consider Tuesday.

That agreement, closely held until this weekend, includes language that would commit the county to diverting 65% of any new property-tax revenue to the project for use in building infrastructure. The urban renewal authority would remit to the county the remaining 35% of any new property-tax revenue.

The agreement makes note of the county’s objections to the use of an urban renewal authority and public financing for the development but said that it might have been forced to participate anyway.

“Notwithstanding its reservations regarding the inclusion of agricultural land in the plan and the city’s determination that the property is “blighted area,” Larimer County wishes to clarify that it is legally obligated to attempt to negotiate an agreement governing the sharing of incremental property tax revenue allocated to the authority, and in the absence of a negotiated agreement the sharing of such increment would be determined by a mediator,” the IGA said.

The county also noted that the county assessor could have objected to the plan but did not.

“(T)he assessor had a period of 30 days to provide written notice to the city if the assessor believed that such agricultural land was improperly included in the plan’s urban renewal area. The assessor did not provide such notice and the 30-day period elapsed,” the statement said. Under state law, the county said, if the notice “is not delivered within the 30-day period, the inclusion of the land in the urban renewal area as described in the urban renewal plan shall be incontestable in any suit or proceeding….”

The county did include language in its intergovernmental agreement that would require LURA “to use its best efforts to reach a binding agreement with the property owner” to develop 80 multi-family affordable rental units for tenants earning 80% or less of the average median income for Northern Colorado. The developer and the Loveland Housing Authority have already agreed to similar language.

The county also sought a commitment from the developer for a “regional attraction contemplated to be a children’s museum” on the property. That is also in the works.

The Tuesday meeting of the commissioners begins at 9 a.m. in the county facility at 200 W. Oak St. in Fort Collins. It is the first item after the consent agenda.

LOVELAND — Centerra South, the new mixed-use commercial and residential development across U.S. Highway 34 — Eisenhower Boulevard — from the existing Centerra, may get a boost of additional tax incremental revenue if the Larimer County Board of Commissioners concurs with a draft intergovernmental agreement on Tuesday.

The property that its developer, McWhinney Real Estate Services Inc., has said will include a Whole Foods grocery store, a large yet-unidentified employer, and numerous retail establishments that don’t exist elsewhere in Loveland, was the subject of numerous meetings over the summer as the Loveland City Council and the Loveland Urban Renewal Authority argued…

Ken Amundson
Ken Amundson is managing editor of BizWest. He has lived in Loveland and reported on issues in the region since 1987. Prior to Colorado, he reported and edited for news organizations in Minnesota and Iowa. He's a parent of two and grandparent of four, all of whom make their homes on the Front Range. A news junkie at heart, he also enjoys competitive sports, especially the Rapids.
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