Denham Springs council proposes tax district for new Riverside Landing project
POSTED: Friday, November 8, 2013 - 5:00am
UPDATED: Friday, November 8, 2013 - 5:04am
Denham Springs, LA (NBC33) — The city of Denham Springs is working on another big shopping mall.
And just like with some other retail projects in Livingston Parish, they are considering asking taxpayers to help pay for it.
The city council created an economic development district Thursday and proposed a one-cent sales tax to fund The Springs at Riverside Landing.
The Springs is to be built on 17.8 acres of land west of Range Ave., south of Interstate 12.
The city annexed the land last month, which is currently undeveloped swamp.
The developers have promised a mix of retail shops and restaurants.
"Got a number of national tenants that are interested in moving into the area," Brent Bueche told the council, "and we just need a little help to push it over the edge."
Bueche and his firm, BBI Architects, are behind the new project.
The help he sought would come in the form of a one cent sales tax imposed on all the stores that move into The Springs.
Nobody has attempted to build on that land in the past because it needs a lot of environmental work before it can be used.
The tax was proposed because many fear that, without it, nothing would ever happen there.
"I'm glad to be a part of a city council that can create an economic development district that can spark a catalyst or an ignition for a property like this," Councilman John Wascom said.
The council has seen plans like this, called tax increment financing districts, or TIFs, work in the past.
The Bass Pro Shops used one when it was built in the same area in 2004. Since then, Sam's Club and many other businesses have opened their doors next to it.
Juban Crossing, a proposed mixed-use development a few miles east along the freeway, got a similar deal from the parish. It was originally expected to be completed in the fall of 2012, but still has not taken shape. The developers and the parish council have sparred over the size of the tax, to the ire of many residents and small business owners.
Denham Springs must hold a public hearing before the council can vote on the tax. That hearing will take place Tuesday, December 10.