Sunset Hills aldermen OK legislation establishing CID for Holiday Inn Viking

Hotel redevelopment to cost roughly $1.2 million.

By EVAN YOUNG

The Sunset Hills Board of Aldermen last week approved legislation establishing a community improvement district, or CID, at the Holiday Inn Southwest-Viking Con-ference Center.

Aldermen voted 7-0 to approve the CID petition submitted by Viking Lodge and Restaurant Inc. President Christopher Kreutz. Ward 3 Alderman Stephen Webb was absent from the board’s March 8 regular meeting.

As outlined in the petition, the CID will be used to fund roughly $1.2 million in im-provements to the Viking, located at 10709 Watson Road on 6.6 acres.

Up to a 1-percent additional sales tax now can be levied on eligible purchases within the CID to pay for the estimated $1,241,500 in renovations. The CID will encompass only the Viking property.

The project includes $165,000 in parking improvements; $275,000 for roof replacement; $175,000 for portico demolition/im-provement; $90,000 for building infrastructure/utility improvements; $325,000 for building facade/exterior improvements; $130,000 for professional fees and $81,500 for general conditions, overhead and a 7-percent contingency, according to the Vi-king CID five-year plan.

The Viking is pursuing the renovations at the behest of Holiday Inn in order to maintain the hotel franchise, according to May-or Bill Nolan. The five-year plan states the redevelopment will be completed two years from the date the ordinance is adopted.

City Attorney Bob Jones said at last week’s meeting that a five-member Board of Di-rectors will govern the CID.

The CID board will be required to annually submit a budget to the city, but Sunset Hills will not incur any major expenses or risk by approving the district, he said.

While the five-year CID plan states the district will be eliminated once the redevelopment is paid off, the petition as approved proposes the district exist for 50 years.

During a public hearing on the proposed CID at last week’s meeting, Ward 1 Alder-man Frank Hardy asked, “Why does this district need to be established for 50 years?”

Viking attorney Brad Goss responded, “Because the district can continue to make improvements … and may find that we are unable to pay the costs incurred within five years. Part of the (Sunset Hills) comprehensive plan calls for this corner of the city to be revitalized, to be improved. So the CID will allow us to achieve those goals from the 2005 comprehensive plan at no cost to the city. So this allows us that flexibility and allows us to continue that vision … However, once again, there would be no exposure to the city. It’s simply a benefit.”

Hardy said, “So the sales tax that’s going to be passed on to the customers because of the CID to pay this debt back …”

Goss said, “If there is debt. I’m not conceiving there would be. I mean we could do a pay-as-you-go plan …”

Hardy said, “OK, I’m trying to understand why you need this … Why not just go borrow the money?”

Goss said, “Well because banks are not exactly loaning money at any kind of frequency today. This is a development tool that’s been established for correcting blighted conditions such as … in this corner. The availability of private financing for this kind of project simply isn’t there. So that’s why we’re using this tool.”

Aldermen voted unanimously in June to approve a conditional-use permit for Mile 277 Tap & Grill at the Viking. The restaurant is scheduled to open in the spring.

Hardy later called Kreutz’s vision for the hotel and new restaurant “remarkable” and said the redeveloped property would be a “real fixture in the community.”

No residents spoke during the hearing.