LINK to seek tax incentive deal for retail development

September 19, 2013 10:23:58 AM

Nathan Gregory - [email protected]


Golden Triangle Development Link officials will be on the agenda for the next county and city board meetings seeking a tax increment financing agreement associated with a potential retail development in Columbus. 


Link CEO Joe Max Higgins confirmed the upcoming request during a quarterly meeting of the tri-county economic development consortium. 


Details on the development will be scarce until officials can broach discussion on the project with elected officials, Higgins said, but approval by governing boards would lead to the facility being in operation late next year. At that time, the location, financial details of the TIF and potential number of jobs the arrangement could bring would be discussed, Higgins said. 


"This project is 50,000 square feet of retail...(which) is in most everybody's book pretty substantial," Higgins said. "We're real excited about that." 


Tax increment financing uses future gains in taxes to subsidize developments or facility improvements. A similar arrangement was approved by Starkville aldermen in April as a funding mechanism for infrastructure projects associated with the Mill, a development involving the transformation of MSU's Cooley Building into a conference center, construction of a motel and establishment of other mixed-use business parcels. 


Supervisors are expected to learn more about the project in their Sept. 30 meeting. The council will meet Oct. 1. 




Link could erect another spec building 


Sustainable building material manufacturer CalStar agreed to locate a second operation at the speculative building near Golden Triangle Regional Airport earlier this year, bringing with it an eventual 50-plus jobs to Lowndes County. As that site transforms into the company's facility, the time to erect another spec building is fast approaching, Higgins said, and is necessary to lure more industry.  


"We have selected a site over by the new water tank and wells on Charleigh Ford Road on the south side," he said. "It's bait. It gets people to look. They may not take it, but it gets them to look." 


Higgins added that there are "several" projects eyeing Lowndes County at present and the county and industrial authority are working on "the last bit" of land buys located near the Golden Triangle Industrial Airspace Park. The Link unveiled a plan to purchase 2,500 acres of in 2008. The final purchase will likely be complete in the next 30 days, Higgins said.

Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.