With One Set to Expire and Another Almost Tapped Out, What's Next for Downtown's TIFs?

TIF funding helped turn the Gulf States building into lofts, but such funding might not be available for long.
TIF funding helped turn the Gulf States building into lofts, but such funding might not be available for long.
City of Dallas

Since its inception in 1996, the City Center TIF has captured property taxes from that neighborhood and flowed them back into downtown projects -- nearly $59 million for projects like the Joule Hotel and Republic Tower. Its neighbor, the Downtown Connection TIF, was established in 2005 and has poured $188 million into developments like the Statler Hilton and the Stoneleigh Hotel.

"Basically, they were highly catalytic in our early revitalization efforts," said John Crawford, president of Downtown Dallas, Inc. "They really provided the gap dollars that were needed to make some pretty complicated projects work early on."

But both TIFs are nearing the end of their useful life. The City Center TIF expires at the end of the year. The Downtown Connection TIF lasts until 2035 but, assuming the City Council approves its $10.3 million investment into the redevelopment of Tower Petroleum and Corrigan Tower, it'll be all but tapped out, with only $8 or $9 million left to invest.

Karl Zavitkovsky, the city's head of economic development, gave a brief update on the TIFs the City Council's Economic Development Committee yesterday. For the expiring City Center TIF, the city will need to "see what other projects are proposed downtown and look at how to extend (the TIFs boundaries) or expand the budget."

The plans are similar for the Downtown Connection: Look at the potential for new development and look at extending the district's boundaries to get more investment money, much as was done earlier this year with the Victory Park TIF.

Crawford said the city is looking at its options and it's too early to say what its final determination will be. Downtown's development needs are different now than they were 15 years ago, but Crawford thinks there is still considerable room for TIF investment.

"I imagine some form of TIFs being available," he said.

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