Minneapolis City Council Green-Lights Value Capture District for Nicollet-Central Streetcar Line
By Gabriel Circiog, Associate Editor
Initial approval has been given by the Minneapolis City Council to redirect as much as $60 million in property taxes to help pay for a streetcar line that would run along Nicollet and Central avenues.
In late 2007, the city of Minneapolis completed a streetcar feasibility study that identified a long-term network of seven modern streetcar corridors. In 2010, after the city completed a study to analyze options to fund streetcar implementation, the city council pinpointed the Nicollet Avenue and Central Avenue corridors as a priority and the best place to start implementation of the long-term network. In 2012, work started on the Nicollet-Central Alternatives Study, after a $900,000 competitive grant from the Federal Transit Administration was awarded.
The value capture district will include all taxable parcels located within the project area, a city block on either side of the Nicollet Central streetcar line starting from 46th Street and Nicollet Avenue on the south through Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis and out to the northern city limit at 37th Avenue Northeast via Central Avenue Northeast.
According to the current timeline, after the city’s budget and transportation committees approve the project, the proposal will go to the full council, with a request for certification of the district made to Hennepin County before June 30, 2013, in order to ensure that the base value of the district would be recorded at its lowest and the resulting annual tax revenue would be at its maximum. The city would collect tax revenues from the district for no more than 25 years.
A portion of the parcels in the district is already under development, with others in the planning stages. Most of the developments are set to be market-rate apartments, including the Magellan Tower (355 units), Nic on Fifth (253 units), 4Marq Tower (262 units), 222 Hennepin (286 units) and Red20 (130 units). Upon completion of all of the proposed projects–anticipated over the next three to four years–the district could generate around $5 million in annual tax revenue. That could pay debt service on general obligation bonds that could be issued by the city in the next several years.
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