The city is planning to finish a development agreement for Gateway, including the financing package in time to present the details at a series of public meetings on Nov. 12 and 13. The meetings will be held at the Sylvester Powell Jr. Community Center. Meetings on Nov. 12 will be at 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. and on Nov. 13 at 6:30 p.m.
The public hearings on the Community Improvement District and development package scheduled for Wednesday night were continued, but not before a couple of questions were posed by citizens.
One question, posed by Bill Nichols, was fielded by Gateway’s New York developer Tom Valenti, who was in the audience for the council meeting. The CID for the development includes an additional one percent sales tax above the current city sales tax to repay bonds the city would issue in support of the development. The additional sales tax will be imposed on transactions at all of the merchants except the Walmart.
To the question regarding Walmart’s exclusion, Valenti said the retailer had agreed to a number of concessions at the Gateway that it has never made in other developments. Those include allowing a grocer into the development when Walmart will be selling groceries. A Sprouts Farmers Market organic grocery is one of the tenants joining the development. A second concession is allowing business to be built over the Walmart. Valenti said Walmart refused to charge the extra one percent because it believes that places Walmart at a competitive disadvantage to Target, which operates at the other end of the city.
On another question, the city was asked the total cost of the anticipated bond issue. City administrator Mike Scanlon said the $36 million under consideration represented the proceeds from a bond sale and that the total cost with underwriting and other fees could approach $42 million.