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Patriot Plaza incentives draw council’s praise

By Staff | Jan 10, 2011

Cape Coral City Council was enthusiastic about the proposed business incentive program for “Patriot Plaza,” a 220,000-square-foot mixed-use facility eyed for the Veterans Investment Zone.
The VIZ is in the area of the Veterans Administration Clinic now being built on Diplomat Parkway in Cape Coral.
The plan calls for nearly $1.5 million in returns for the Patriot Plaza’s developers, Grubb and Ellis, over the course of 15 years through performance based objectives.
The city’s Economic Development Office has been tweaking the program for over six months, and if successful, will be used to attract other investors by offering customized incentives. The program will help the VIZ, and other parts of the city, too.
“I think this is a unique program,” said Councilmember Bill Deile. “It offers flexibility to adopt geographically, and the business types what we want to encourage to come here.”
The Economic Development Office’s Audie Lewis compared the program to a TIFF — a tax increment funding source — but said it’s not exactly a TIFF.
Lewis said the incentive program will offer returns on medical and hotel portions of Patriot Plaza, but not the retail portion.
The development is expected to have 154,000 square feet of medical office/clinic/rehab/wellness components; 38,000 square feet of retail; and 30,000 square feet of hotel space, which equates to approximately 110 rooms, according to Lewis’ presentation.
The city is also expected to collect $1.8 million in impact fees on the project, Lewis said.
The city will also see an increase in the commercial ad valorem tax base, Lewis said, something the forthcoming VA Clinic will not provide.
“Even though the VA center is big, we won’t get a dime of ad valorem taxes from that building,” Lewis said. “We’re certainly getting economic growth, but our bread butter, ad valorem taxes, we won’t get.”
If Patriot Plaza moves forward, it is expected to increase the values of those properties within a square mile.
As property values increase, so will the city’s ad valorem tax revenue.
“The sooner we get increased valuation … the sooner we will get many side benefits from the properties around it (Patriot Plaza),” said City Manager Gary King.
City Council is expected to approve the business incentive program at its voting meeting, Monday, Jan. 24. Council will not meet Monday, Jan. 17, due to Martin Luther King Jr. Day.