Green Park aldermen to study CID for TriStar proposal on Yuma Drive

By BURKE WASSON

Green Park aldermen tentatively are set to consider studying the merits of a community-improvement district to help fund a proposed mix of residential, office and commercial development near the Ronnie Hills subdivision.

Mayor Steve Armstrong has indicated that TriStar Business Communities representatives are putting the final touches on agreements to acquire properties near the area.

“TriStar met with us again,” Armstrong said. “And it looks like basically they have acquired all the properties that they need. And they should be approaching the city in the very near future with public development. Again, they don’t have all the pen to paper, but it looks like they’ve worked out most of the property matters that they need over there.”

Armstrong and City Attorney Paul Rost said TriStar officials would like the city to study the possibility of a tax-incentive program through a community-improvement district, or CID, that would help fund public-works improvements that will need to be completed with the project.

As tentatively proposed, the project would require a stoplight at the intersection of Flori Drive and Lindbergh Boulevard to accommodate the increased traffic that the residential/commercial development would be expected to bring.

Rost said at the Board of Aldermen’s Oct. 16 meeting that he would be drafting a CID proposal for aldermen to study at their next meeting on Nov. 20.

The city attorney said that TriStar representatives have expressed a willingness to pay up front for the city’s fees for studying the merits of the CID.

“They want to explore the ability to maybe have a community-improvement district to put in a stoplight or something over there and fix up the public improvements over there,” Rost said. “To do so, they were looking at that kind of a district, but for us to look at that on their behalf.

“We would want to explore that, but we’d want them to pay for us to explore that and see if it’s viable. So what we’re going to do is bring before you next month an agreement that says that they’ll agree to reimburse, or actually pay up front, for us to take a look and run the numbers and get the information to the board so the board can review it and see if it’s anything worth doing over there. So that’s what the agreement would be for.”

Repeated efforts to contact TriStar Business Communities President Mike Towerman were unsuccessful before press time.

The mayor reiterated that TriStar officials had not yet formally submitted their plans for the development to the city, but that the proposed project does meet the standards for the Yuma Drive area in the city’s comprehensive plan.

“The overall project is going to include residential, office, commercial, basically like our comprehensive plan says for that area,” Armstrong said. “So they are moving at putting a lighted intersection at Flori and Lindbergh Boulevard. Again, they’ve not put pen to paper yet. As part of that, with the overall project because of the topography over there, they will be looking at utilizing some financial means. One of them, of course, will not be a TIF. But there are other financial means where basically the businesses there will fund themselves.

“Again, this is all very preliminary. Not saying we have or will agree to do necessarily anything. Again, I think they’ve ac-quired all their properties and resolved all their issues. So they feel now that they can actually come forward with a plan to present to the city and go through the overall process. It would require a public hearing and (Planning and Zoning Commission approval) to go with this. So people will have the opportunity to see it when they issue an initiative on the property. So it looks like they have acquired or are very near to acquiring every single property required.”

Armstrong has said that from his understanding of the development, the majority of it would be residential and that the office and commercial aspects of the property would be of a nature similar to other commercial properties along Lindbergh Boulevard. Specifically, he said that the area’s plan of commercial properties facing Lindbergh Boulevard would likely be included in this project and that the residential properties would be zoned further back from Lindbergh.