Jefferson City Company Seeks Public Financing for Mall
JEFFERSON CITY - The Jefferson City Council will consider a public financing plan in mid November aimed at reviving the Capital Mall.
The decision to approve a tax increment financing plan (TIF) for the mall is in the city council's hands after the mall's owners submitted a TIF plan to the city's Tax Increment Financing Commission. The commission approved the TIF plan Monday night.
TIFs allow companies to keep some of the property and sales tax revenue generated at the business so the property owner can use it to re-develop the property. The TIF plan submitted by Farmer Holding of Jefferson City would raise more than $10 million over 23 years to help re-develop the mall, which was built in the 1970s. Cities use TIFs with the understanding a re-developed property has the potential to generate addtional tax revenue not raised at the site before.
Farmer Holding bought the Capital Mall in Dec. 2012 for $11 million and said it is in disrepair due to neglect by the previous out-of-state owner. Farmer Holding cited higher retailer vacancies and lower sales numbers in recent years. The mall's owners would like to spend $37 million to revamp the mall.
Ward 1 city councilman Jim Branch said the TIF is crucial to keeping the mall open.
"I would rather help them a little bit and have a positive cash flow on it rather than saying no, it's on your own and we end up shuttering it and having nothing," Branch said.
Jefferson City resident Tim Stallman opposes the TIF plan and testified against it at the commission's public meeting.
Stallman declined an interview with KOMU 8 News and said any further comment from him is just "water under the bridge."
Stallman wrote an opinion piece in the Jefferson City News-Tribune, saying the city should not use public funds to help the mall's owners. Stallman said the property should not be designated as blighted.
"Capital Mall is not blighted, it just needs a better business plan," Stallman wrote. "This is the system the law allows to get the TIF money and thus avoid the taxes the rest of us pay when we make property improvements."
The city council will consider the plan at its Nov. 18 meeting. The city council will also discuss two varying proposals for a new hotel and conference center at that meeting. Farmer Holding is trying to receive public funds to build the proposed conference center near Capital Mall.