City to Kick In Millions More in TIF Dough to Get Lake Highlands Town Center Back on Track

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After last week's accidental tour of the Lake Highlands Town Center, or what there is of it, we discovered: Prescott Realty and the city's Office of Economic Development are hustling to get that long-dormant development off the ground years after that big-deal groundbreaking was buried in the economic collapse. Matter of fact, per agendas posted to the city's website, tomorrow the Skillman Corridor TIF District's board will meet at City Hall to finalize a few details before going before the city council on June 22.

Among the topics of conversation: bringing in a "third-party consultant" (Street-Works) to figure out what works best for the site; extending the due-by deadline; and shrinking min-square-footage requirements for at least the first two phases of the project at Skillman and Walnut Hill.

But more important, the city wants to way-up the amount of future TIF revenue going toward the project -- from the $23 million the council agreed upon years ago to $40 million. Not only that, but the city wants to turn some of that into an outright "economic development grant," as well as use $1.37 million of the TIF district's "available cash" as reimbursement for the already completed infrastructure work.

Karl Zavitkovsky, head of economic development, is out of the office till tomorrow. And Prescott's higher-ups, including CEO Jud Pankey, still haven't returned our calls placed a week ago. But fresh messages have been left.
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26 comments
DHJ
DHJ

Does anyone even know what stores or restaurants would potentially make up the LH Town Center?  I recently heard Trader Joe's was considering this location.  DHJ

Tom L (No, Not That L)
Tom L (No, Not That L)

I live almost next door to the Timber Creek Walmart And Friends development that's been going gangbusters and is expected to finish this fall. At which time I expect traffic to be so horrible that getting in and out of my neighborhood to be particularly unpleasant.

Why oh why couldn't the fates of these two developments have been reversed? :(

md
md

"Tax Increment Financing, or TIF, is a public financing method which has been used as a subsidy for redevelopment  and community improvement project"

Other than buying nearby apartment complexes in Lake Highlands to tear down, I can't think of a better redevelopment project for the Skillman area TIF.

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

Nice project what with the finishing touches and Landscaping in place  already. It is all going to be torn to Leppert when the construction starts.

Triple Wildcat
Triple Wildcat

Should have made Trammell Crow wait to build Timber Creek Crossing until the Lake Highlands Town Center had signed its major retailers. You can't build two huge developments that close together and not expect one to be negatively impacted. Make the Crow people wait, and I bet they would have found plenty of tenants for Prescott and the LH Town Center out of the goodness of their hearts.

Jordan W.
Jordan W.

It turns out Vance Detwiler, listed as president on the Prescott higher ups site linked above, also gave money to Jerry Allen - $1000 this year and $930 in 2009. How many deals like this are incumbents voting for during their two year terms? No wonder its so difficult for challengers to beat them when the people profiting from the city hall gravy train are the ones choosing the council.

Storm_71
Storm_71

Maybe they can bulid a nice concrete river with some fake rapids that could possibly kill people.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

The "best" TIF deals, grants, etc. are the ones that the Dallas City Council decides to award to developers AFTER THE DEVELOPMENT IS ALREADY UNDERWAY.

The whole purpose of these things is supposedly to encourage development where none would otherwise occur and for the City of Dallas to realize a net financial benefit via increased taxes down the road, etc.  At the risk of stating the obvious, if a developer has already started a project, that's a pretty clear indication that no incentive was necessary.   Also, if the City gives away ALL the incremental tax revenue associated with a project--- then what's the point?  Indeed, the ongoing costs to the City of providing incrementally more municipal services to a new real estate development means that, in some cases, the City could actually end up losing money on the deal--- so what's the point?

Anyway, you gotta love these council members---- what amazes me is how little it sometimes takes to "purchase" their willingness to sell out their constituents.

ThatGuy
ThatGuy

OK, I'm not thrilled by developer bailouts.  However, Prescott did not leave this a moonscape. When the world collapsed, they went ahead and completed the horizontal development. They created a park, which they have given to the city.  They keep the landscape and plant seasonally as well as using about 80% original trees from the site. They have tried to keep up their end of the bargain as opposed to Trammel who is trying to weasel out of the trees at "Timber" Creek.   As far as more retail goes, Lake Highlands is actually removing old, undermaintained retail areas up the street.  This is half residential and the DART station is functioning.  Lake Highlands is trying to develop a transit station location like Mockingbird. These guys are getting city money, that is not that great.  But Lake Highlands has taken more than its share of Section 8 housing in the recent past.  Maybe it's time they got money for something nice.

Guest
Guest

If the market supported the idea of a shopping center there, there'd be a shopping center there.

Grumpy Demo
Grumpy Demo

Another Developer bail out.

Gotta love Dallas, were the developers get the profit, and the Dallas tax-payer takes the risk.

Yet no money for parks, road, kids, etc.

Titus Groan
Titus Groan

It isn't socialism when rich people are asking for the handout.

Rick
Rick

If "For Profit" businesses can't get this developed, why should the city of Dallas, already facing a budget shortfall, jump in and bail them out?  What guarantees does Dallas have that it will get the invested money back (are there signed long term leases that, even when cancelled, still provide the refund)?

Jordan W.
Jordan W.

I wonder if Julie Pankey, who gave $1000 to Jerry Allens campaign, is related to CEO Jud Pankey mentioned above? I wonder if the bailout for this "long dormant" project will get approved by the recently reelected incumbent?

MattL1
MattL1

From that picture, it looks almost finished to me.  All it needs for aesthetic perfection is a Best Buy. 

Jordan W.
Jordan W.

Why is it that the wealthy developers always get a multi-million dollar bailout while the citizens of Dallas get higher taxes and reduced services?

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

The most significant change is the City's apparent intent to award these guys an "economic development grant," yet the official agenda is strangely silent as to how much money they intend to give them.  I find that odd, given the fact they list dollar amounts associated with all the other proposed actions.

Yakuza_Fighter
Yakuza_Fighter

I agree wholeheartedly - Dallas desperately needs more retail stores.  It is the inalienable right of every person in Dallas to have a Potbelly's, Sport Clips, and Pei Wei within a 2 minute walk from no matter where they live in the city limits.

guest
guest

Or single family development!

Peggyhil
Peggyhil

Same Julie Pankey.   Longtime LH

Titus Groan
Titus Groan

Because the wealthy developers bribe the council members.  Duh.

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

That is one of my questions for both Pankey and Zavitkovsky.

Lelau21
Lelau21

Yakuza, I'm sure you think you are funny, but my kids have been the laughing stock of the class at Cistercian ever since they got a MooYa's in their neighborhood, which we have none in Lake Highlands.  Do you know how difficult it is for them to face the competition, I mean the other students, knowing they don't have a custom hamburger or street taco restaurant in their neighborhood.  I've had to schedule extra sessions with their personal coaches all because of this.

G_David
G_David

Walk?  In Dallas?  You're quite the comedian! Why walk for 2 minutes, when you can drive for 10 and end up at the same place?

Brenda Marks
Brenda Marks

Rob, will you also ask Karl if the statutes requires the council to amend the project plan for this TIF to factor in the financial changes to the financing plan if the increment is converted into a grant?

Triple Wildcat
Triple Wildcat

That's funny, Yakuza. But if you saw the dining and retail options in Lake Highlands -- more specifically the utter lack of them --- you'd be crying for a Potbelly, too. We don't even have a Domino's in Lake Highlands.

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