Financing Plan for Centre Point Garage Still in Works

Aug 14, 2014

Credit Stu Johnson / Weku News

    As expected, Lexington’s Urban County Council spent a significant amount of time Thursday night discussing the highly publicized Centre Point project.

The latest talks addressed bankrolling a planned underground parking structure.

The lengthy question and answer period focused on a financing plan for building a parking garage under the planned high rise commercial development.  Developers learned this week the state rejected their application to borrow $30 million to pay for the parking structure.  Now, the Webb Companies plan to ask the city for what's called tax increment financing bonds.  Lexington Mayor Jim Gray told Council last night the city is trying to 'adjust and adapt.'  "This is really important to all of us, to our city, and that we want to be helpful and we want to be responsible as well," said Gray.

The TIF method creates funding for projects by borrowing against the expected future increases in property tax revenues.  Webb Companies Attorney Darby Turner says it amounts to little or no financial risk to the city.  "The only pledge to support this is the increment revenue, which is already pledged, which has already been carved out for utilization in the project," said Turner.

Real Estate attorney Mason Miller is an advisor to the city. Depending on the proposal, Miller argues there could be financial risk to the city.  He says the TIF revenues are dependent on the project successfully going forward as designed. More than one council member wanted more information about any potential financial liability.  A formal proposal is expected to come back to council within the next few weeks.  Turner says work on the project is not slowing.  He says trucks will continue hauling concrete onto the site for the foundation of the underground garage.