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City Council votes for an estimated $2.8 million in financing for streetscaping and stormwater work at the IDEA Commons expansion area.
Rendering provided by The Vecino Group
City Council votes for an estimated $2.8 million in financing for streetscaping and stormwater work at the IDEA Commons expansion area.

Council approves public improvements for IDEA Commons expansion

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Springfield City Council last night voted unanimously in favor of a resolution for the city to provide public improvements for the IDEA Commons expansion project.

“We’re at the point where we have some definition to the project and want to discuss that with council,” Springfield Planning & Development Director Mary Lilly Smith told council prior to the vote.

With the green light from council, the city will provide an estimated $1.8 million for streetscaping along Phelps Street and Boonville Avenue and another $1 million for stormwater work at the center city development. Those public improvements will be funded by the city’s quarter-cent capital improvements sales tax, Smith said.

The IDEA Commons expansion is projected to cost $55 million in total. The Vecino Group LLC’s new office building would cost $25.3 million, an expansion to Jordan Valley Innovation Center would be $15 million and a new parking deck by Missouri State University would cost $11.8 million, Smith said.

Funding for the JVIC building will be broken down into three funding streams, with developer financing making up the majority at $7.46 million. New market tax credits would cover $4.5 million of the project, with MSU contributing the remaining $3 million, Smith said.

The MSU parking deck will be funded by Missouri Development Finance Board credits in the amount of $3 million to incentivize $6 million in donations and a loan from MDFB for $5.8 million, Smith said.

The office building will be privately financed in full.

“These projects will be a catalyst for change and growth not just north of the square and south of Chestnut but throughout the square and into downtown,” MSU President Clif Smart said to council.

Smith said local incentives associated with the expansion include a tax increment financing district and Chapter 100 industrial development bonds.

“A state TIF district can either capture half of the incremental increases in state sales taxes or half of the incremental increase in state withholding taxes of jobs in the district,” Smith said to council.

The use of the bonds would make the office building tax exempt.

“A transportation development district will be put in place to capture those forgone real property taxes,” Smith said.

Smith said the project could break ground in late summer or early fall next year.

Conversations dealing with the IDEA Commons expansion began more than a year ago, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.

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