Council considers tax credit zones to lure economic development - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Council considers tax credit zones to lure economic development

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Jackson city leaders are hoping to take advantage of new federal tax dollars to entice business development in the capital city. The Economic Development Committee was briefed Monday on those plans.

The Jackson City Council will have to approve an ordinance to help drive federal funding into Enterprise Community Zones or areas that are described by officials as some of the poorest in the capital city, which could use a turnaround.

Jackson's Planning Department has identified five census tracts on the edge of economically distressed areas that could be transformed into job producing and business development areas if action is taken. The City Council is considering an ordinance that establishes Enterprise Community Zones to take advantage of the federal government's New Market Tax Credit Program.

Planning officials said the distresses areas are described as having poverty between 25 and 30 percent.

"The Metrocenter Mall, the Fondren neighborhood, Midtown, the Northside Drive corridor across the city, these area all places in our city that are viable for development but would otherwise not be eligible for the New Market Tax Credit Program," said Architect Roy Decker with the City of Jackson Planning Department.

One Jackson developer said a Louisiana company has purchased the old McRae's building on Meadowbrook Drive and wants to use tax credits to open a facility there.

"They intend to develop a data center. it's an 87,000 square foot structure, about five acres of land and they are a Baton Rouge company. They already have two data centers," said Developer Jason Watkins with Numac LLC.

During Monday's committee meeting members also were updated on the Westin Hotel project and the District of Eastover.

Economic Development Committee Chairman De'Keither Stamps said the projected downtown Five star hotel is moving forward and expected to be open by winter of 2015.

Along I-55 buildings have been razed and a large mound of dirt can be seen at the District of Eastover project. The earth will be used as a part of the development.

The city has designated the $115 million dollar mixed property a tax increment district and the project can receive up to $7 million dollars in tax increment funding over a 10 year period.

"We have suburbs that are growing around us but Jackson as far as pure economic development needs to focus on things that are drivers and you'll see in the coming weeks," said Stamps. "You'll see us look at things of entertainment districts and things like that come toward our downtown area." 

The New Market Tax Credit Programs take effect in May.

The Enterprise Community Zone ordinance passed out of committee and is expected to be before the council at the next meeting. 

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