City Gets Set to Develop Exit 10

City Gets Set to Develop Exit 10

City Gets Set to Develop Exit 10

November 5, 2001 - Noblesville Ledger

By: Joanna Hensley

NOBLESVILLE – City officials acted as if they had won a major award Tuesday night.

As common council prepared to sign a 73-page preannexation agreement with developers who own land at Exit 10 – the Indiana 238/Interstate 69 interchange – presenters stopped the meeting to take pictures and spoke of their hard work as if they were making an acceptance speech.

The hoopla was staged because the city did get a reward Tuesday – a promise of less traffic near Verizon Wireless Music Center and more nonresidential property tax money in city coffers.

“We’re planting a flag at the interstate and doing it with a well-conceived plan,” Rick Arnos, president of Republic Development, said of the agreement he was about to sign. Once roads and sewers are extended to the 280-acre area, his company plans to build upscale offices, warehouses and corporate headquarters. “We’re setting ground rules for what will happen in corporate campus.”

The preannexation agreement spells out what infrastructure improvements will be made, how they will be financed and who pays if construction doesn’t go as planned. It also includes annexation agreements and tax abatements depending on a building’s size and type of use.

If no buildings are built in the area by 2008, Republic agreed to pay 80 percent of the annual bond payments used to fund $20 million in roads, sewers and storm drains and financing costs. In the worst-case scenario, the city would pay 20 percent of the payment, or about $300,000, each year after 2008.

“There is a good chance the city might have to pay something in 2008, but it shouldn’t be the worst-case scenario amount, said Chris Hamm the city’s economic development director. “We expect there will be a point not far past 2008 where the development will go into the black.”

The agreement is a city-developer partnership that, by combining resources, hopes to speed up development for the area. Road construction is expected to begin next year, said city attorney Mike Howard, and sewer work could begin as early as February for completion by November 1, 2003.

Arnos has also said he hopes to have tenants in buildings next year.

Estimates for the amount of revenue the development would bring were not made public, but the city is confident the benefits will far outweigh the costs, Hamm said. The new roads should lessen traffic in the area and eventually connect to an extended 146th Street.

Extended sewers and city utilities should also entice other developers to build in the area. This is important, officials said, because more businesses paying city taxes means less of a tax burden on residents.

Republic approached the city two years ago about building near the interchange. The city approved a 19-page memorandum of understanding in June that detailed where roads would go and talked about tax abatements and future annexation.

In October, Hamilton County Commissioners approved a third access point from the Exit 10 development to Ind. 238 and gave the city approval to establish a tax-increment finance (TIF) district for the area. The TIF money will help pay for the sewer and road improvements.