Officials are still working to finalize the tax increment financing (TIF) boundary areas for a Pueblo ballpark project, which is being proposed to lure the Orem Owlz (Rookie; Pioneer League).
Owlz owner Jeff Katofsky is seeking to move his team to Pueblo, CO, where it would play at a new downtown ballpark constructed as part of a larger development project. Under the funding model for the proposed facility, Pueblo County would issue taxable certificates of participation for up to $25 million, to be backed by tax increment financing. The county is proposing to assume all of the debt risk, but has asked the city to provide 3% of its 3.7% sales and use tax plus 4.3% of its lodging tax revenue generated in the area for 25 years.
Katofsky, meanwhile, would develop three hotels in the surrounding area that could serve visitors to the ballpark and tournament attendees at six nearby youth sports fields that would be funded separately from the MiLB facility. One of the hotels would feature 3,000-plus square feet of retail, and Katofsky would run tournaments at the fields.
The Pueblo City Council, which will have to approve TIF boundary areas, was to be presented with a proposal during a work session on Monday. Those discussions were put on hold, however, as Pueblo County and the Pueblo Urban Renewal Authority still need more time to finalize the details before they are considered by the city council. More from The Pueblo Chieftain:
Under a proposal pitched to council in May, the boundaries consisted of three different areas Downtown: one in an area where the stadium would be built, by Lake Elizabeth right near the Associated Grocers warehouse; another in the vicinity of the Historic Arkansas Riverwalk of Pueblo, consisting of three pieces of land near Central Main Street and Alan Hamel Avenue; and one in the Runyon Field vicinity that encompasses most of Runyon Lake, the fields there and an area north on both the east and west sides of Interstate 25.
Councilman Chris Nicoll said on Monday night he’s concerned that the boundaries may grow in size to be able to cover the cost of the stadium, and that he will be keeping an eye on the situation to make sure that doesn’t happen.
“I don’t want to see it any bigger than what was presented originally,” Nicoll said.
City Manager Sam Azad said it could take urban renewal a while to finalize the boundaries because they’re having to establish a new TIF area from one that already exists.
Katofsky announced his intention to relocate the Owlz last week. Being able to construct hotels as part of a larger project fits into his plans as a developer, as he has been pitching major development concepts for his other business ventures–including the proposed reopening of the shuttered Sugar Loaf ski resort in Michigan as a four-star, year-round resort. Further discussion will be needed to determine whether a final ballpark agreement in Pueblo can move forward, but the Owlz are seeking to open the facility in time for the 2020 season.
Rendering courtesy Youth Entertainment Sports Pueblo.
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