Council approves new downtown TIF district

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The Indianapolis City-County Council on Monday night voted 25-2 to expand the downtown tax-increment financing district to the northeast and northwest.

The plan is intended to support redevelopment of the Massachusetts Avenue fire station site and projects such as downtown apartments, a new Marsh grocery store and a high-tech corridor along West 16th Street.

So-called TIF districts capture the additional tax revenue generated by projects in the district to cover the costs of new infrastructure or other government spending that make the projects possible.  TIFs have grown more popular since Indiana capped property-tax rates four years ago.

The downtown TIF was approved by a council committee in August but a final vote had been postponed due to controversy and a lawsuit from a city activist.


  • TIF Loans/Subsidies
    Idyllic Indy, I would say you have to read the ordinance language yourself and decide, but the argument by the objectors is that it is written broadly enough to allow for funds from the TIF to be used outside of the TIF area, and there were some vague promises made by some Councilors to certain neighborhoods not located in the TIF expansion that they would benefit from this money. Of course, using TIF funds for projects outside the TIF area is illegal under state law. So, I suppose as long as no funds are actually funneled outside the TIF area there should not be any problem. Of course, if state law is followed it may result in some neighborhood groups being left disappointed and feeling mislead.
  • TIF
    Jerry, yes, I know there is a lawsuit pending, though I am not sure I could opine on its merits (yes, I know the city ordinance at issue regarding proposals tabled for 6 months, but I also know it really is up to how a judge interprets it). As for the Metropolitan Development Commission, I don't believe there has ever been a time it has rejected a TIF proposal approved by the City-County Council; moreover, I would doubt a majority of its members would ever go against the Mayor's wishes. I guess I can just go ahead an say it--rubber stamp. So, really the only hurdle is the lawsuit, and it will be settled in court.
  • TIF Proposal
    Chris, Your comment is pretty much on the mark, except for your declaration that people have moved on to other issues. The Downtown TIF expansion still has to be approved by the Metropolitan Development Commission. Plus, it is also facing a pending lawsuit because the measure was taken off the table after the six month deadline set by statute. Further, they are trying to push other TIFs through before a measure requiring transparency passes. As far as what was offered in support, the administration put in several giveaways via amendments and at least a couple councilors asked to be recused because they had received campaign contributions from developers involved inthe project. The Council President said councilors did not have to recuse for that reason. There may well have been other councilors who received well-timed campaign contributions from developers.
    • Any non-TIF development happening?
      I read a blog that indicated that one of the main objections was that the downtown TIF expansion was going to include two sites where new developments were about to occur without any TIF subsidy, thus, making the increased property taxes paid by those new developments available to subsidize other projects. Does anyone know if this is true, or what those projects are?
      • How Dare you...
        be rational, thoughtful and factual Chris. In short, nice response. Most reader comments anymore are just a soapbox for people to air their political agendas, opinions and attack others. Bravo. And I agree with your recap.
      • Refer to the Star
        PJ, the Indy Star has covered this issue extensively, and you should go to their website and read the relevant stories if you want the background (you could also read back articles in the IBJ that offer more detail about this measure). Why did the ordinance pass? Answer: It always had enough votes to pass. It also had tremendous backing from the Mayor's office, various neighborhood groups, and various developers. The primary opposition to the measure has been from Councilor Mahern and a few community activists. They have brought up some valid concerns about the city's use of TIF districts in general, as well as specific concerns about this particular ordinance. However, they were not able to persuade many people to rally around this issue. Redevelopment financing is not a particularly exciting issue and many people do not care and/or do not know much about it. In any event, the measure has passed and people have moved on to other issues.
        • controversial?
          For a much heated debate over this expansion, it's interesting to see that it passed on a 25/2 margin. I would be interested to see a story about how and why it was passed, what concessions were given to appease the opposition?

          Post a comment to this story

          We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
          You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
          Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
          No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
          We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

          Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

          Sponsored by

          facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

          Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
          Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
          Subscribe to IBJ
          1. How can any company that has the cash and other assets be allowed to simply foreclose and not pay the debt? Simon, pay the debt and sell the property yourself. Don't just stiff the bank with the loan and require them to find a buyer.

          2. If you only knew....

          3. The proposal is structured in such a way that a private company (who has competitors in the marketplace) has struck a deal to get "financing" through utility ratepayers via IPL. Competitors to BlueIndy are at disadvantage now. The story isn't "how green can we be" but how creative "financing" through captive ratepayers benefits a company whose proposal should sink or float in the competitive marketplace without customer funding. If it was a great idea there would be financing available. IBJ needs to be doing a story on the utility ratemaking piece of this (which is pretty complicated) but instead it suggests that folks are whining about paying for being green.

          4. The facts contained in your post make your position so much more credible than those based on sheer emotion. Thanks for enlightening us.

          5. Please consider a couple of economic realities: First, retail is more consolidated now than it was when malls like this were built. There used to be many department stores. Now, in essence, there is one--Macy's. Right off, you've eliminated the need for multiple anchor stores in malls. And in-line retailers have consolidated or folded or have stopped building new stores because so much of their business is now online. The Limited, for example, Next, malls are closing all over the country, even some of the former gems are now derelict.Times change. And finally, as the income level of any particular area declines, so do the retail offerings. Sad, but true.