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Review committee recommends changes to TIF

Robert Coleman, economic development director, speaks as Kent Lashley, Pat Byrne and Dan McMahan listen on during a meeting about possible changes to Midwest City’s most recent TIF district. Photo by Jeff Harrison

By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon

Midwest City officials want to change plans to spur economic development on the city’s north side.

Those changes include modifying the recently created Tax Increment Finance district to include prospective business and higher than expected costs of construction.

The city is looking to increase its investment in the project by $2.25 million and extend the terms of the TIF by eight years. City leaders also want to include American Glass, Inc. in the project. It will replace Global Turbine Services which is no longer developing in Midwest City.
A review committee last week recommended approval of the changes to the North Side Improvement District. The planning commission will review the changes before they head to the city council for final approval.

According to state law, the review committee met on the item because the total public cost of the project increased by more than 5%. The total cost is projected to increase from about $8.745 million to $11 million. The length of the TIF will also grow from 12 years to 20 years.

The committee supported the changes to the TIF, especially the addition of American Glass.

“I think it’s cleaner and I think the community will be happier with that,” said Aaron Collins, superintendent of Metro Technology Center who served on the committee.

The committee included representatives from taxing entities impacted by the proposed TIF as well as representatives from city hall and the public.

In December, Midwest City created the North Side Improvement District to spur economic growth on NE 23rd and NE 36th streets. The city planned to contribute $8.745 million for infrastructure improvements and incentives for two companies – Centrillium Proteins, LLC, a food processing company, and GTS, which maintains, repairs and tests jet engines.

Centrillium is planning to build a $70 million, 102,000-square-foot facility in the 7200 block of NE 36th St. The company plans to hire more than 100 workers. They recently completed site work and are expected to begin construction soon.

Construction costs for the plant have increased by about $15 million. So have the city’s costs associated with water, sewer, and railroad improvements.

“Part of that is because of the size and part of that is the massive inflation that we’ve seen in some products over the last year,” said Robert Coleman, economic development director.

GTS planned to build a facility in the Soldier Creek Industrial Park, 7450 NE 23rd St. The Florida-based company planed to build a jet engine maintenance, repair, overhaul, and testing facility that would have employed up to 290 people with an average salary of $65,000. The company dropped its expansion plans due to lack of work from Tinker AFB.
Midwest City was able to recruit American Glass to the former GTS site. American Glass plans to build its headquarters and glass wall assembly facility in Midwest City. The city has agreed to add a railroad spur and help with landscaping.

“The attraction of American Glass is not only the jobs, but they have designed what I consider an architecturally stunning building, especially compared to the rest of the NE 23rd Street corridor that will help us when we start talking about new investment down the corridor,” Coleman said.

American Glass worked on the Devon Tower and BOK Center in Tulsa.

Coleman said American Glass does not bring any of the concerns about odors or noise that GTS presented. The original project with GTS included noise suppression.

Councilman Pat Byrne believes American Glass could serve as a catalyst for development on NE 23rd St.

“They have been in business for 50 years and the proposal for the building is outstanding, especially when we’re trying to develop this strip of land,” Byrne said.

Midwest City expects to spend about $11 million for infrastructure improvements with the TIF.

The projects include utility improvements ($5.6 million) and rail spur ($3 million) at Centrillium and AGI, development finance assistance for AGI ($450,000), financing costs ($800,000), cost of issuance ($100,000) and organizational and administrative costs ($250,000). Midwest City also expects to spend $750,000 for improvements to NE 23rd St.

The TIF district will allow any increases in property tax revenues to be set aside to fund infrastructure improvements in that area. The boundaries primarily run along NE 23rd St. between Post Rd. and Air Depot Blvd. The west boundary extends north to NE 36th St.

A portion of the utility costs will be funded through federal funds.

The Local Development Act Review Committee met July 19 to review proposed changes to the North Side Improvement District. Photo by Jeff Harrison

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