Tubman TIF Delayed As Bond Board Does Not Get Quorum

Thursday, November 14, 2019
Cherita Allen
Cherita Allen

The "East Chattanooga Rising" Tax Increment Financing (TIF) was delayed when the city's Industrial Development Board did not get a quorum on Thursday morning. 

Chairman Skip Ireland said two of the seven members became ill. Also present were Ray Adkins and Jelena Butler.

A public hearing still went forward including a full explanation of the TIF from three speakers. Chairman Ireland said a new public hearing date is Dec. 2.

Dr. Everlena Holmes and Eric Atkins both told the board that they favor expanding the TIF boundaries to spur more development.

Dr. Holmes also asked, "Why the rush?" She said it would be 2-3 years before the $60 million Nippon Paint company is up and running at the former site of the Harriet Tubman housing project.

She said many areas of East Chattanooga suffer from blight and neglect.

Mr. Atkins, of the Unity Group, said, "I am in favor of the TIF, but its boundaries could be more expansive."

Officials said it would be a $5.8 million TIF with new tax income from the site being used for infrastructure.

Two more community meetings are planned in January concerning the 20 acres of the site not being taken by the automotive paint firm. There is a 15-acre tract by Roanoke Avenue and five acres along Southern Street.

A "master developer" is set to be in place by March to begin developing those two properties.

Cherita Allen, deputy administrator of the city's Economic Development department, said the Chattanooga Housing Authority vacated the property in 2012. She said the city spent $2.6 million to buy it and over $4.8 million to clean it up. The next challenge is a $2 million project to move a sewer line that bi-sects the property.

Ms. Allen said a five-member TIF Review Committee took a look at the Tubman TIF and had some recommendations.

Charles Wood of the Chamber of Commerce said Nippon Paint hopes to hire some community members. The average wage is to be $47,000 with hourly rates ranging from $13 to $22.

There will be 150 new jobs. 

Mr. Wood said the facility will use mainly water-based paint. He said it is not a plant "that will be walled off," but the plan is to integrate it into the community. A road is to be built to the plant that will also "connect the community," it was stated.

He said it will be a cluster of buildings rather than "one giant box." 

The Chamber official said unemployment in East Chattanooga is at 9.7 percent. He said 1,634 people live within a half mile of the site. He said 53 percent are of working age.

The city donated the property to Nippon Paint with a value of $1,160,000. The company is not asking for a PILOT tax break. Mr. Wood said Nippon is to pay back the land donation if it does not invest the $60 million and provide at least 130 jobs.



Dr. Everlena Holmes
Dr. Everlena Holmes

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