The Aurora City Council has approved resolutions supporting two tax incentives that would pave the way for redevelopment of Yorkshire Plaza on the far East Side.
Aldermen unanimously approved an inducement for a business improvement district — the first in the city’s history — and a potential tax increment financing district on the plaza property.
The inducements are the first step toward the city helping a proposed redevelopment by Daniel Nee to turn Yorkshire Plaza into Pacific Square Center, an Asian-centric shopping center, which officials say would be the largest of its kind in the country.
The inducement resolutions merely allow the city to go forward, and give the developer some assurance the city is interested. They do not commit the city completely to the proposal.
The city also gave another indication of wanting to move forward on the plan, as the Finance Committee this week recommended the next step in the process — hiring a consultant to perform feasibility studies for both the business improvement district and the tax increment financing district.
Finance Committee aldermen recommended hiring Kane, McKenna and Associates Inc. to do the studies. The city has used Kane, McKenna many times before for past TIF district studies.
The recommendation was to pay Kane, McKenna up to $12,500 for the work on the business improvement district, and up to $37,500 for the tax increment district work. The consultants will make sure the property is eligible for both incentives, and also generate numbers to show the council how much it would get out of providing both incentives.
The development is planned in three phases, with only the first phase guaranteed at this point. That phase would see Pacific Square spending at least $14.25 million to improve 365,000 square feet of the center and turn it into an Asian marketplace.
The redevelopment would not only include new retail shops and tenants, but also new facades, modern signs, better access and parking.
City officials have said the development would dovetail perfectly with the city’s plans for the Route 59 corridor, and fit with the changing face of retail up and down the highway.
For that first phase, Pacific Square is asking for the business improvement district. It would allow the city to provide up to $3.3 million during a 10-year period through a special sales tax only collected within the district. The law allows for a special sales tax of as much as 1 percent on sales from within the district.
In addition, city officials are recommending the city provide sales tax sharing up to $4 million or for 10 years, whichever comes first.
A second and third phase would be considered that would cover property at the plaza outside of the current L-shaped retail space that would be redeveloped in the first phase.
For that, the city would contemplate the tax increment financing district. Under a TIF district, the property tax amount collected is essentially frozen at the time the district is created. As property values increase with development, the additional tax dollars are placed into a city fund to help finance improvements in the district..
In the second phase, Pacific Square is considering a $6.3 million investment in improvements that would include demolition of all the buildings in the outlots of the plaza, and construction of a 30,000-square-foot office building.
It is contemplated that the city would provide $2.7 million over about 10 years for this phase.
A third phase would include some $63 million in improvements that would include an apartment building, commercial space and a parking deck.
Neither the third phase nor the second phase are definitely proposed at this time, but the city wants to investigate the potential of the TIF district.
Bringing the consultant in on the heels of the council approving the inducement resolutions shows this redevelopment “is a large priority” for the city, said Martin Lyons, the city’s finance director.