Tax breaks for development south of Crown Center move forward

union-hill-mapAs a start toward an $80 million mixed-use development south of Crown Center, a city council committee on Wednesday approved a blight finding for the property.

It would expand the Union Hill Planned Industrial Expansion Authority tax break area and give it a new name.

An $80 million development plan for the area will be filed later for what includes about 400 residential units and some commercial space, officials said.

The Planning and Zoning Committee approved the PIEA tax break expansion area that adds 11.6 acres to the north of 6.8 acres already approved. It now would consist of 18.4 acres between 27th Street and 30th Street, Gillham Road and McGee.

It goes to the full city council for final approval today. The change would not include powers of eminent domain.

Real estate developer Milhaus of Indianapolis would do the project with local developer UC-B Properties and others.

UC-B is owned by developers John Hoffman and Lance Carlton, who have done extensive work in Union Hill and other parts of Midtown.

A Milhaus official said the project would tie together Crown Center and the Union Hill and Longfellow neighborhoods.

Councilman Scott Wagner praised the project for coming on just as the new streetcar line starts nearby.

But Councilmembers Heather Hall and Quinton Lucas asked about the appropriateness of finding such property blighted though it had that designation from the original Crown Center project decades ago.

Jan Parks, speaking for the Coalition for Economic Development Reform, said such follow up projects should not get blight designation and tax breaks.

Those should only go to highly distressed areas that have been determined jointly by the city and taxing groups like the school district that get the money, she said.

Hall said councilmembers need to discuss the entire issue more: “We just want to redefine what blight really means.”

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