Cleveland Mayor’s “Shore-to-Core-to-Shore” TIF District Approved, Could Generate Billions
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Cleveland City Council recently approved Mayor Justin Bibb’s “plan to create a special downtown taxing district to pay for an overhaul of the city center and the Lake Erie and Cuyahoga River waterfronts,” reports. The “Shore-to-Core-to-Shore” tax increment financing (TIF) district is expected to generate an estimated $3.3 billion to $7.5 billion over four decades, which Bibb views “as Cleveland’s best shot at financing a downtown makeover,” according to the article. Bibb sees “a remade, vibrant downtown” as the city’s “best path to reversing decades of outmigration and suburbanization” that has “left City Hall with a shrinking tax base that makes it more difficult to provide basic city services.” The mayor’s team acknowledges the plan is a risk, due to unknowns such as “how much downtown properties will appreciate in value over the coming years,” but Finance Chief Ahmed Abonamah and Councilman Kerry McCormack said “taking no action is riskier than moving ahead” with the TIF plan. Abonamah said, “[w]e can continue fighting for shrinking resources, and [pass] levy after levy and tax ourselves to death. Or we can take some bets here…and try to invest our way into the future, and grow the pie, so we can benefit from a region that’s growing.”

Cleveland plans to use the TIF proceeds for $400 million “in infrastructure upgrades to augment Bedrock’s plans for Tower City Center and the riverfront,” including “12 acres of public space along the Cuyahoga River, plus residential, commercial, and retail space, among other development.” Another $3 billion for this work would be supplied by Bedrock and others. Another $706 million would go toward residential and commercial development of the lakefront near Browns stadium, providing greater public access to the waterfront. The city would invest $104 million in infrastructure improvements across downtown, including “bike lanes, more transit amenities, lighting, and new streetscapes,” which is “expected to spur over $1 billion in private investment.” Any future spending of TIF proceeds will need approval by City Council. For more, read the full article.

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