Tallmadge -- The city is asking Summit County to help it partner with a private developer who hopes its proposed construction project near the Circle turns into an investment of up to $50 million in the community.
City Council approved an ordinance Feb. 14 that will allow the city to apply for grant that, if awarded, would offset the city's costs of participation in development of the city center complex Testa Companies has proposed for 76 North Ave., next to City Hall.
The city will apply for funds from the Home Investment Partnership, a grant through Summit County. If the county awards the grant, it would provide up to $300,000 to be used toward the development and construction of Testa Companies' "The Village at Town Center" project.
The proposed mixed-use development features a four-story building with rental senior apartments, market-rate condos and retail. The project seeks to create a town center that would incorporate the former Tallmadge Middle School, City Hall, police and fire departments and banks near the Circle.
The company's plans are contingent on federal senior tax credits that are administered through the state. Its application was due Feb. 21. Applicants are expecting to learn June 12 whether their projects have been funded.
If the county awards the city the grant, the city will match the funds up to $200,000 through an "appropriate economic development mechanism," which Mayor Dave Kline said could be some type of asset, such as water lines that serve the buildings for both phases of the project or other infrastructure, or something related to economic development.
Council would need to separately approve legislation related to the mechanism.
"I think this is a good ordinance. I think this is great for the economic development of what could happen next door to us," Kline told Council.
A condition of the grant is that the city must ensure that at least four of the rental units of the building remain for low-to-moderate income seniors for 20 years, he said.
Kline said the city's plans to participate in the project would give Testa Companies' application for tax credits a greater chance of success.
Councilwoman Kim Ray asked the city administration whether the city's investment in the town center project would be likely to pay off.
"Are we even halfway guaranteed that this project's going to generate $200,000?" she said. "I understand the economic benefit of people shopping, drawing them to the area, income taxes."
"If what they project happens, this will seem like a small investment," said Dennis Loughry, the city's economic development director.
Testa Companies is projecting a minimum investment of $35 to $50 million over the two phases of construction, depending on which medical company occupies the proposed medical building in Phase II and what the medical facility would involve.
Joel Testa, chief operating officer of the Testa Companies, said he has secured a Letter of Intent from a company for the medical building but was unable to disclose the name of the company at this time.
The developer of another proposed multi-story senior living facility is applying for the tax credits but isn't asking the city to apply for the same county grant for its project.
According to city officials, LW Construction Services isn't interested in the grant for its "Tallmadge Senior Village" at 580 Colony Park Drive because of the grant's requirements.