Cunningham touts NIZ, CRIZ in Pittsburgh
By LVEDC Staff on June 10, 2014
LVEDC President and CEO Don Cunningham hit the road and headed west this past week for a speaking appearance at the 2014 Council of Development Finance Agencies’ Pennsylvania Financing Roundtable Conference in Pittsburgh. The topic: “In the Zone: Targeted Redevelopment Tools.”
Cunningham was one of three speakers who examined the Neighborhood Improvement Zone (NIZ) and City Revitalization and Improvement Zone (CRIZ) programs, how they work, and what potential they have for leveraging new economic development opportunities.
The one-day conference focused on “Catalyzing New Opportunities and Innovation in Development Finance.” In addition to Cunningham, the event featured a number of economic development finance experts from around the state discussing new development finance tools, authorities, resources and approaches, and how these methods can affect the Pennsylvania economy going forward.
The conference was held at the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce in Pittsburgh and was supported by dozens of the state’s finest development finance leaders.
The NIZ, officially launched July 1, 2011, consists of about 130 acres of land in center-city Allentown and along the western side of the Lehigh River, according to the City of Allentown. One of the unique features of the legislation is that no additional taxes will be required to build or operate a business within the special tax designation area.
Instead, the state’s taxes a business would pay normally included employee state wage taxes are being placed into a special fund overseen by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania treasurer. These monies initially are being used by the City of Allentown to pay off its loans or bonds used to build the PPL Center, scheduled to open by October. The NIZ has attracted several developers including City Center Lehigh Valley, Alvin H. Butz, Inc. and Jaindl/Dunn Twiggar.
The CRIZ designation for the City of Bethlehem was awarded on Dec. 30th, 2013 by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett. The CRIZ allows for the use of future tax revenues to pay for infrastructure and development costs of local projects.
Bethlehem bested several other Pennsylvania cities to join Lancaster as the only two CRIZ locations. A total of 18 projects have so far been identified as CRIZ-worthy by Bethlehem.
During a March visit to Bethlehem, Gov. Tom Corbett noted that the CRIZ program is expected to draw $500 million of investment to the city and nearly 4,000 permanent jobs and $1 billion in total construction purchases and wages that will be spent locally and across the commonwealth.
Scott Shearer, managing director at Public Financial Management, and Jeffrey Mills, a partner with Reed Smith LLP, will serve as speakers with Cunningham. Andrew Wimbish, president of Legacy One Development Corporation, will serve as moderator.
The CDFA is a national association dedicated to the advancement of development finance concerns and interests. The agency is comprised of the nation’s leading member of the development finance community representing 300 public, private and non-profit development entities.
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