Will Eagle, developer, share development costs?
EAGLE – A full house at Eagle Town Hall on Thursday night got a lesson in how governments and developers can share money.Developers of the proposed Eagle River Station project east of Eagle gave basic details of a possible revenue-sharing plan to town officials Thursday night. Most of the final numbers won’t be nailed down until later in the town’s approval process, and the exact numbers probably will change.What town officials want, though, is hard numbers and dates attached to the plan.”The problem we had with the last applicant was that the numbers remained a moving target,” Mayor Jon Stavney said. Bill Schultz, a representative of Trinity Red Eagle Development, the project developer, said those numbers will be nailed down before any deals are signed.Whatever form the plan takes, the developer and town will share money from sales taxes gathered at the project to finance streets, utilities and other improvements on the 100-acre property as well as a new Interstate 70 interchange for the development and improvements to Eagle’s existing streets and utility systems.The plan in essence has the developers keeping most of the sales tax generated from the project for as long as 25 years. Sales tax at the project would total 5 percent – sales tax is 4 percent elsewhere in town – with developers keeping 3 percent.That money would pay off bonds on an estimated $35 million in improvements that would be built outside the development’s boundaries. A metropolitan district already has been created to issue bonds for the project. If the project is approved, the town would also create an “urban renewal district” as a legal way to help with the financing.While many similar deals between towns and developers pledge all of a project’s sales tax to pay for improvements – as is the case at Traer Creek in Avon – Eagle will get to keep a portion of Eagle River Station sales taxes right from the start. Developers claim the town’s portion will be $4 million per year once the project is fully leased and open.Eagle Town Board members had several questions about when that money would be available and how much of it could be used to pay for other projects in town.No public comment was taken at the meeting, but after the presentation and about 90 minutes of questions from town officials to the developer’s representatives, some town residents questioned whether Eagle River Station could hit the developers’ revenue projections.John Kleinman estimated that it would take tens of thousands of people spending thousands of dollars per year to hit the projections. “I’d like to see their research,” Kleinman said. “I don’t know what a $200 million retail space looks like.”While the developers say they’ll have firm numbers to base any deal on, resident Charlie Hauser said he doubts that claim.”It was an interesting discussion,” Hauser said. But, he added, he “absolutely” doubts the developers’ revenue claims.Resident Mike Stevens said there’s a way to hold the developers to their promises.”It’s up to the town to make them,” he said.===========Eagle River Station100 acres of the proposed Eagle River Station development.625,000 square feet of retail space.580 residential units.150 hotel rooms.1 new Interstate 70 interchange.==========Staff Writer Scott Miller can be reached at 748-2930 or firstname.lastname@example.org.