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$30 million tax break may not be enough for Collier plan |

$30 million tax break may not be enough for Collier plan

| Friday, July 25, 2008 12:00 a.m

A $30 million tax break for infrastructure improvements may not be enough to help developers build the proposed $110 million Collier Crossing project in Collier.

That was the indication of an Allegheny County official this week when the county’s Redevelopment Authority approved a tax-increment financing plan for the development.

“At this time we can’t determine if this amount of funding works because a lot of work needs to be done,” said Dennis Davin, the authority’s executive director.

Although the authority’s board approved the financing plan, usually referred to as a TIF, the other taxing bodies involved in the site — Collier and the Chartiers Valley School District — must approve it, he said.

“Once there is more evidence of the costs involving the project, we will bring the TIF back to the board for any changes needed,” said Davin, who serves as director of the county’s Department of Economic Development.

As reported, Echo Real Estate Services Co. is the latest company to take on development of Collier Crossing, on a site that includes the Trader Jack’s flea market.

Several developers have been associated with the Collier Crossing project in recent years, including DeBartolo Development, Cedarwood Cos., the Goldenberg Group and Faison Enterprises. Whole Foods Market at one point was mentioned as a likely anchor tenant.

At the recent International Council of Shopping Centers’ Idea Fair held last month in Pittsburgh, Bruce Haney, Echo’s managing director, said he anticipates a fall 2009 ground breaking for the 650,000-square-foot complex of retail stores, offices, hospitality venues and restaurants.

Potential tenants could include Giant Eagle, Target, Kohl’s and six or eight “big box” retail tenants.

A spring 2011 opening is projected.

However, Haney said the project’s success could be influenced by the Newbury Market development two miles away, a 300-acre site in South Fayette. This is a 911,000-square-foot multi-use commercial, retail, office and residential development.

“Our feeling is that one of these will go, and one will not,” Haney said.

Tax-increment financing allows property tax dollars generated by a development to be used to pay off bonds issued for construction, generally for road, sewer and improvements, usually over 20 years.

In this case, funds would be used to improve the road network surrounding the 65-acre project site, said Michael P. Pehur, the department’s project manager of special projects and finance.

The work would include improvements to Interstate 79, Thom’s Run Road, rebuilding of a road over Chartiers Creek into the site and relocation of Steen Road.

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