City Hall

How Much "Public Financial Contribution" Sylvan Thirty Needs to Be "Feasible"

The council's Economic Development Committee's being briefed this morning on two projects familiar to the Friends of Unfair Park -- Wynne/Jackson's redo of the old Dallas High School downtown, which we'll get to shortly, and Sylvan Thirty, which is first up.

The reason the latter's on the agenda, says Karl Zavitkovsky, head of the city's Office Economic Deveopment : Sylvan Thirty needs a small pile of publicly provided dough to work, per the briefing -- not just $3.2 million out of the Fort Worth Avenue TIF District, as we've previously discussed, but another $1.5 by way of a Public/Private Partnership grant. And, on top of that, says this morning's look-see: "The owner is also seeking a future New Markets Tax Credits allocation of about $12 million ($3 million cash value) subject to future review by the Dallas Development Fund Board, allocation, and future City Council approval."

Without all that, the $47.8-million mixed-use development on Sylvan and Fort Worth Avenue just ain't doable.

The TIF money, says the briefing, will go toward "infrastructure improvements (including sidewalks and pedestrian amenities on Fort Worth Avenue) to create a public plaza space in the center of the development, to create an east/west connection through the multi-family building; to leverage affordable housing; and to make the project financially viable." As for the $1.5 mil grant, says the briefing, "The project is not financially viable without this additional funding."

Zavitkovsky -- who says work on Sylvan Thirty should begin in July of this year, with a December 2014 wrap-up date -- just began his break-down for council, whose questions we'll get to in a moment.

Tennell Atkins wants to make sure Sylvan Thirty's affordable housing component -- which will add up to 20-percent of its housing -- isn't stuck in one place in the development. He wants those efficiencies and one-bedroom units spread out throughout the property. Zavitkovsky reassures the council member: That'll happen, you bet. "They are committed to this," he says, "and we will reinforce it in the development contract."

OK, then, Atkins says -- but what about the new market tax credits? Because the project won't move forward without those too, right? Right, says Zavitkovsky. But the application's already in to the Dallas Development Fund.

"And We are in the process of negotiating with tax credit investors," he says. "We have one identified ... and once that gets nailed down the DDF will have a session to approve the tax credit, and that recommendation will come before this committee and council for approval." When? Before council's summer break in June. Because they want to break ground by mid-July.

And with that, the committee votes unanimously to send the deal to the full council.

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky