During a Frisco City Council work session Feb. 4, Assistant City Manager Nell Lange said that after looking at projections for the growth of the area with City Manager George Purefoy, staff have decided to “pull back” on the idea of creating a new tax increment reinvestment zone, or TIRZ.
“The initial review of the property boundary lines and everything gives us just a value of $60 million, and with that kind of value, trying to project out what we think it might increase to [in] downtown doesn’t get us really much money to help us pay off debts,” Lange said to the council. “So we’re going to step back on it for a minute and kind of re-evaluate it.”
The shift away from a possible TIRZ in no way affects the city's ongoing plans to improve downtown, which include a pedestrian plaza, wider sidewalks, on-street parking, more lighting and other projects. The city's efforts come as several major projects are being built in The Rail District by private developers.
Local governments use TIRZ districts to capture growth in property tax revenue from development in an area. Those funds are then reinvested into projects that help future growth in that district.
After the work session, Lange told Community Impact Newspaper the city wanted to use funds from the TIRZ for a parking structure in downtown near the site of the planned Fourth Street Plaza.
Design began in September on the planned pedestrian plaza, which will be located between Main and Elm streets. City staff said last year that design and planning on the $2.6 million project is expected to continue to September 2021. Construction will see Fourth Street closed off to traffic to allow for pedestrian access to shops and urban living once it begins in October 2021.
Lange said work on the proposed TIRZ could begin again at some point in the future.
“We talked about facades for some of the buildings downtown and some things like that,” Lange said. “It doesn’t mean we won’t bring it back, but for right now it wouldn’t generate enough revenue for us to fund a garage, and that was out main purpose for trying to put it together.”
Frisco’s first TIRZ district was created in 1997 for the property that now includes Stonebriar Centre. Funds captured by the reinvestment zone helped fund projects such as Toyota Stadium, Dr Pepper Ballpark and the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco.
In November, Frisco used funds from the first TIRZ to purchase the conference center built inside the new Hyatt Regency Stonebriar hotel at Stonebriar Centre.
The council approved the $16.5 million purchase price at its Nov. 19 meeting. Other funding sources for the conference center purchase came from the city’s community development corporation, economic development corporation, and hotel and motel fund, according to a city presentation.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify that the tax increment reinvestment zone was being considered to fund a parking structure and that the city's decision not to pursue a TIRZ does not affect the city's other plans for downtown.