Delaware, Berkshire close to finalizing 2nd JEDD

The City of Delaware and Berkshire Township are close to finalizing an agreement for another special tax district near Tanger Outlets Columbus.

The two local governments already share a Joint Economic Development District of about 215 acres, which allows the township to implement the city’s income tax rate of 1.85 percent. About 60 of those acres contain the Tanger Outlets complex.

“At that time, it was agreed by both parties the city would have the first right of refusal for any additional JEDD in Berkshire Township,” said Jeff George, the zoning inspector for Berkshire Township, in a statement to Delaware City Council. “As agreed, Berkshire Township approached Delaware City with an additional JEDD consisting of 574 acres.”

The revenue from the first JEDD is split between the two communities. Prior to the split, the JEDD board receives 1 percent, while Delaware receives 4 percent for administrative services. Berkshire then receives 60 percent of the net income tax revenue, while Delaware receives 40 percent.

The outlets mall has “surpassed our expectations,” said Berkshire Trustee Bill Holtry during a Delaware council meeting last week. At that time, council approved a motion for the city to continue JEDD efforts.

During the recent tax holiday weekend, “they were parked like it was the opening day,” Holtry said.

The proposed JEDD No. 2 would be located north of the first one, he said. The township is working with three property owners and two developers, one of which is Nationwide Realty Investors.

“They’ve all agreed in context to be part of the JEDD,” Holtry said.

The township has received two renderings each of 50-acre retail area in the second JEDD, he said. But “when a developer comes to us with an artist rendering, frankly, that’s cheap talk,” Holtry said.

Several hotels are considering the area and the area is expected to have office structures. Holtry teased council with another business the township plans to secure.

“We’re trying to hold a property for a major, a major — I have to — I can’t divulge this, I promised,” he said.

“There has to be some type of a health venue over in that part of the county. There has to be. It’s that simple,” he said, shortly afterwards.

The JEDD would be tied in with a planned mixed-use development, or PMUD, and a tax increment financing tool to pay for the maintenance of the infrastructure as the area develops.

The PMUD “is almost like a cloud, for example, that predetermines the zoning, for any zoning changes. So if somebody comes in and wants to develop, the zoning densities have already been changed for the entire area,” Holtry said.

For now, the players are “holding their cards, so to speak” until they get the PMUD approved, he said. The developers are “waiting on the PMUD. So the cloud goes down; it goes into action and they can begin their projects.”

Additionally, the TIF would be larger than the JEDD No. 2 for potential growth in the future, he added. The township plans to take action on the JEDD, PMUD, and TIF within the next few months.

The split for JEDD No. 2 would be split 80-20 between Berkshire and Delaware, respectively, after 1 percent goes to JEDD board and 4 percent goes towards Delaware’s administrative services.

The city has committed JEDD revenue to go toward filling a $6.2 million funding gap for The Point project. The city received nearly $18 million for the project in grants for the estimated $25 million project.

By Brandon Klein

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Gazette reporter Brandon Klein can be reached by email or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.