A Town of Brookfield financing district of $30 to $35 million could be ready for approval by the end of the year — a move that would pave the way for spring construction of The Corners development and Wisconsin's first Von Maur department store.
Public hearings on the tax incremental financing district plan would be held in October, with votes by the end of November, under a timeline approved by the Town Board Tuesday night.
"They'd probably be knocking down some of these buildings possibly in October," Town Administrator Rick Czopp said.
The Corners would raze the former Marcus Corp. West Pointe Cinemas and Menards, as well as a strip mall and Applebee's on Blue Mound Road near Barker Road. New construction would include a 140,000-square-foot, two-story Von Maur store, as well as an retail, office and residential apartments. There also would be a large underground parking structure and green town square.
Representatives of the town and the Marcus Corp. have been negotiating for more than a year on what public improvements and properties should be included in a tax incremental financing district.
Approvals are needed by December to start construction of Von Maur in spring and open the store in October 2014, Czopp said.
The estimated amount of TIF borrowing for public and private improvements had been $25 to $30 million. Czopp said it now is closer to $30 to $35 million, after the TIF boundaries have increased to potentially include industrial properties east to Janacek Road.
"We started expanding it, we’re going to all the way out to Janacek Road.... so that whole area can be be redeveloped," he said.
The total value of the TIF district, including The Corners / Von Maur development and adjacent industrial properties, now is estimated to be about $224 million, compared to earlier projections of about $100 million, he said.
A TIF would help fund public and private improvements — including an large underground parking structure, as well as sewer, water and road work.
The town would borrow the funds, which would be repaid by property taxes collected on the new construction. Those taxes would be diverted from the town's general fund and the school district, county and state until the borrowing debt was paid.
Towns do not have authority to create TIF except for environmental cleanups, but Gov. Scott Walker has signed a bill into law giving the Town of Brookfield authority to create a TIF for only this project.
Czopp said he and town supervisors — as well as Marcus — have been "super cautious" about the TIF details because they want to make sure the taxpayers don't end up on the hook for repaying the borrowing, should tax revenues fail to cover it, which has been the case in some municipalities.
The town is planning to have TIF paid off within 15 years, after which the project's tax revenue would start to be shared with the school district, county, state and technical college.
"We want this TIF district to end as soon as possible," Czopp said. "It’s just taking a long time to figure these things."