Iowa approves $ 100 million bridge funding for sports and entertainment venues

(The Center Square) – Iowa could provide $ 100 million for statewide capital investment projects through the Iowa District Reinvestment Program, the Iowa Economic Development Authority announced in a press release last Friday.

Bridge funding for the six District Reinvestment Program applications is for proposed projects in Ames, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Fort Dodge, Urbandale and Newton.

The funding would include support for the development of an ice rink and a training center for the Des Moines Buccaneers hockey team at the former Younkers store site in Merle Hay Shopping Center and one football stadium dedicated to the Des Moines threat on the site of the former Dico factory. The Merle Hay Mall Reinvestment District received an interim $ 26.5 million for its $ 122 million capital investment proposal, while the Des Moines Capital City Reinvestment District, which would also include an entertainment venue and three hotels, received $ 23.5 million for a capital investment of $ 277 million.

Ames’ interim funding of $ 10 million would support a $ 154 million investment in the redevelopment of Lincoln Way, an indoor aquatic center and a new full-service hotel. The Cedar Rapids project could receive $ 9 million for a capital investment of $ 263 million in residential and hotel spaces, breweries, restaurants, shops, entertainment venues and outdoor recreation. A capital investment of $ 86 million in Fort Dodge for Crossroads Mall, indoor / outdoor event space and a hotel would receive $ 17 million. The Newton neighborhood would include the redevelopment of the old Maytag buildings into ‘new market affordable’ apartments, a boutique hotel, lobby bar and ballroom, upgrades to the Des Moines Area Community College campus and revitalization commercial properties in the city’s resilience zone.

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Over the next 20 years, these projects are expected to “generate” $ 385.3 million, according to the press release. The agency’s final decisions are contingent on applicants meeting program requirements by February 25, 2022, the statement said.

TEF Iowa Policy Director John Hendrickson said The central square that these subsidies are “not necessarily equitable” to taxpayers or small businesses, who may see no benefit, and that “much of the economic literature” shows that subsidies are not as effective as they are. they should have been.

“Often, I think, economic development is best served by creating a fairer tax code that lowers rates and is more beneficial for everyone instead of sort of picking winners and losers, which a lot of development grants do. economic, ”Hendrickson mentioned.

While corporate tax rates were lowered as of this year, further declines would be beneficial, he said. The continued creation of special districts, which shift the land tax burden to other taxpayers, may also make it more difficult to grant land tax relief, he said.

“A bipartisan agreement exists among the Iowans – and it even transcends our rural-urban divide in this state – that we need to do something to sort out the property taxes,” he said.

The reinvestment program promotes the development of “transformative” multiple development projects to improve “quality of life” and provide “unique opportunities” in urban renewal areas of state communities, the statement said. Up to $ 100 million in revenue from new state hotels / motels and sales taxes can be “reinvested” in approved districts.

Scoring criteria include uniqueness and economic impact, which have the highest weight (25 points), as well as project feasibility, capital investment, funding leverage, focus non-commercial, development readiness, geographic diversity and the need for financing, all of which are equally weighted at 10 points, according to the agency.

Project applications are available for consultation here.


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