The Knoxville city council approved tax breaks on a building project at 17th and White Avenue Tuesday night at their meeting.
The project is an apartment complex with more than 250 units expected. This multi-nillion dollar project is planning to displace specifically the two businesses of Niro’s Gyros and the former McDougal’s chicken. As the director of redevelopment Bob Whetsel put it, ” This is probably a $29 million development.” The city council’s role in the matter is applying a PILOT program to give tax breaks. Payment In Lieu Of Taxes would mean that the building could get their construction completed before any taxes must be paid as well as five years of tax breaks after the building is complete.
There are multiple aspects of this project that could benefit the surrounding community. Four hundred construction jobs are expected for a period of two years. The utility needed for building this apartment complex also hopes to boost the surrounding area’s economy. There have also been two recent PILOT programs in the surrounding area. There are also plans for building a parking lot to serve the residents. Jared Shank, from Chicago, Illinois, has been working on this project two years now. His focus is on honoring the history of Knoxville and believes the PILOT program is essential for a successful building on 17th and White.
The main concern that seemed to be addressed by the council was whether or not the building needed tax breaks after completion of construction. The WBIR staff produced an article that described the working of this project in some detail. The council passed the PILOT program as, “the I’s have it,” the mayor repeated all night as every other movement passed as well on Tuesday night. Council members brought up the option that a form of stair-step taxes could be put on the apartment complex after completion. Josh Flory of Knox News also produced an article about the project and some of the reasons why the PILOT program is necessary. There will be a two-year period of construction that will supply hundreds of jobs to the city of Knoxville. This project will take a lot of money to pull together all that must be done to buy the property, construct the building and parking lot, and finally getting residents in the building. A project of this form warrants tax breaks because there will be large upfront expenses where no money will be made until the entire project is complete.