Navy Hill Development Survey
We can all agree that the Navy Hill Development would be a monumental undertaking that would affect residents across the City and throughout the 5th District. I think it's critical that on City Council you engage as many people as possible on issues such as this, and in ways that are accessible and transparent as possible. I want to hear directly from you as a resident of the 5th District what your views are.
Here are some of the top-line numbers, provided by the City and Davenport and Co:
- The proposed "Tax incremental financing" area would cover 80 square blocks surrounding the project
- The city will put $350 in non-recourse revenue bonds on the market for investors to purchase. Because these bonds are risky, they have a higher interest rate and are generally thought to be more “appealing” to investors because there is a greater return
- This deal assumes a 30-year fixed payment of $10 million a year
- Nearly 60% of the tax incremental area is made up of tax-exempt properties. Part of the proposed deal would require the city to sell these parcels and begin collecting tax revenue on these properties to pay down the debt from the bonds
- If the coliseum is highly successful and generates revenue beyond the $10 million, 50% would be allotted to paying down more of the debt, and 50% would be earmarked for Richmond Public Schools. However, this excess goes into the General Fund first and must be appropriated ongoing by City Council
- Because these are “non-revenue recourse bonds” if the Coliseum and it’s surrounding properties are unable to generate the tax revenue, Richmond does not “owe” the money back. In other words, if it fails, apparently the city owes nothing.
- There are only 80 affordable housing units promised by 2022, 200 in the next 5-7 years. Of these, 40% will go to folks who make 60% of the Area Medium Income, 60% will go to those who make 80% of the AMI. Housing vouchers are being accepted, but not prioritized over non-voucher applications. The developer is only required to offer the income-restricted units for a period of 20 years.
- The deal plans to include a bus transfer station, a rehabilitation of the Blues Armory that includes a proposed grocery store and a jazz club, and a 26,000 occupancy hotel
- The City currently projects that the project would create 12,500 jobs during construction, and 9,300 additional jobs upon completion
Here are some of my questions, as it stands:
- If the additional funding that would eventually be going to schools is based on the revenue generated from the NH project- what is the marketing and branding plan? Who and what is the management vendor planning to bring in during the first year?
- Compared to similar construction and large scale projects- how do these projected job numbers match up?
- What are the exact terms of negotiations for the non-recourse revenue bonds? Are we truly held harmless into future budget cycles?
- How could this deal impact the development happening in other parts of the city?
- What is the cost-benefit analysis on just selling the entirety of the property to a private developer and still drawing a TIF to collect revenue for schools/roads?
- This deal promises money in future budget years for future city councils- even if this is done by ordinance- doesn’t the city charter supersede and prohibit this action?
Do you support or oppose the Navy Hill Development, as currently proposed?
Do you think that the current plans do enough to ensure the development of affordable housing?
Do you think that the process for rolling out the project has been transparent, and has engaged sufficiently with the community?
Do you think that the City has negotiated a good deal with respect to tax payer financing of the project?
What would be your priority for your next City Councilor with regards to their handling of the Navy Hill Development?
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