By BECKY KISER
There were no comments during the public hearing nor from Hays city commissioners Thursday night as they unanimously approved an ordinance establishing the Hays Hotel LLC Hilton Garden Inn Redevelopment (or TIF) District.
City Finance Director Kim Rupp first reviewed the developer’s economic incentive requests for the hotel and convention center project on West 43rd Street just west of Walmart.
“The developer is requesting tax increment financing (TIF), a community improvement district (CID), and a rebate of the city’s five percent transient guest tax (TGT) generated by the project,” said Rupp.
The public hearing and ordinance were the next steps on the process required under state law to approve TIF financing for the project. The TIF district is also known as a redevelopment district.
“The primary effect of passing the ordinance tonight is locking in the base year assessed valuation of the project site. After the ordinance is effective, any future increase in property tax generated within the TIF district boundaries will accrue to the TIF fund,” Rupp explained. The TIF fund will be held separately by the city in order to reimburse the developer for TIF-eligible project costs on a pay-as-you-go basis.
The developer estimates the TIF would generate approximately $3.7 million in revenues over a 20-year term.
Rupp told city commissioners the “developer has indicated they cannot complete the improvements without the TIF.”
The Hays USD 489 school district and Ellis County both have the right to veto the TIF district within 30 days by a resolution stating the district would have an adverse effect on their taxing entities.
Assistant City Manager Jacob Wood has met with the school board and county commissioners. Neither group is expected to object to the TIF.
The next steps would include negotiation of a TIF project plan and a project plan with the developer. Those would be subject to commission approval at later meeting.
Phase One of the project involves construction of a full-service four-story Hilton Garden Inn with 100 rooms, an 8,400 square foot conference center/event space, a restaurant and lounge, and infrastructure improvements required to serve the site, including water, sewer, street, utilities, and pedestrian infrastructure. The developer will finance costs of 43rd Street improvements.
Phase Two of the project involves construction of a new restaurant and/or other commercial retail on the two outparcels of the project site. There is no specific time frame set for Phase Two.