By Bryan Boggiano
Cornerstone’s finances and financing and money are on the minds of the Community Redevelopment Agency and developers.
The CRA approved a 75 percent tax increment finance rebate to Predesco Property Investments for the Cornerstone Development at its April 24 meeting.
The development comes after the city commission approved various special exceptions at their April 19 meeting.
According to city officials, the exact financial impact is unknown since the North and South blocks have not been added to the tax rolls, and a final millage rate has not been set.
Tax increment finance, or TIF, is a development finance tool that addresses blight, promotes neighborhood stability, and inspires redevelopment. According to city officials, it uses the increased property taxes generated by new development to make real improvements and incentivize redevelopment.
The 75 percent TIF was part of a new agreement between Predesco and the CRA. The two agreed in 2019, but Cornerstone underwent significant changes due to COVID. These included gutting office space and increasing residential space on the North Block.
COVID also changed plans for a proposed bowling alley and movie theater.
The Surfside Champlain Towers South Condominium Collapse and ensuing regulations on condos also made developers reconsider owned versus rented properties.
In his remarks, Chair Andrew Kasten said although the updated Cornerstone is not what the board had in mind, not keeping the TIF at 75 percent would slow momentum and create problems.
Vice Chair Lorna Brown-Burton expressed concerns about keeping the TIF at 75 percent. She stated the city is the only party losing out on the deal, and she proposed setting the TIF at 62.5 percent for Cornerstone’s North Block.
She advocated for negotiating the TIF further with developers.
“That is coming and operating in good faith, Brown-Burton said.
CRA Member Germain Bebe said with development coming to all three corners of Sample Road and University Drive, there could be multiple vacancies if Cornerstone’s focus were office and commercial space. Mike Del Pozo argued that more residential space would bring vibrancy to the downtown and create a destination city.
“We want people to live here and spend their money here,” De Pozo said.
Predesco’s Rod Sheldon said the 704 residential units, mixed with the rooftop bar and restaurant space, would be more profitable than office space.
He denied Coral Springs would be losing out with the new deal.
Ultimately, the board voted 5-1 to approve the new contract and TIF. Kasten, Bebe, and members Mary Villalobos, Mike Del Pozo, and Mark Mendel supported it. Brown-Burton voted against it.
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- A University of Florida journalism graduate, Bryan is pursuing his masters in geosciences at Florida International University. He has a strong interest in weather, entertainment, and journalism.
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