Letter to the Editor: Portage Crossing Set to Change in Size and Scope
The following was submitted by Cuyahoga Falls Development Director Sue Truby.
Updated 6/26/12 at 10:54 a.m.
Editor's note: The Cuyahoga Falls City Council approved a new contract Monday night for ground to be broken on the Portage Crossing development. Under the new deal, Stark Enterprises will pay the city $3.8 million for the 25-acre property with 100 percent of the money being reallocated to the developer. The original deal called for a 75 percent return of funds, but city officials decided to increase the dollar amount to cover infrastructure improvements that need to be made to accommodate some of the larger stores, like Menards.
As we continue to work with the Stark Enterprises development team, I am pleased to report that the Portage Crossing project continues to expand in scope. In April, announcements were made of several exciting retailers who have already signed leases for this project. In an effort to attract yet another large tenant (Menard’s) to the City of Cuyahoga Falls, additional negotiations were required. As a result, the original contract with the developer was amended and restated to reflect the larger project. The most notable changes were:
- The original project consisted of 279,000 square feet and with the addition of Menard’s and others, it increased to almost 400,000 square feet – an increase of over 40%.
- The original project was to be constructed in two phases with the outside date of 2015 for the second phase’s groundbreaking. The new contract states that the entire project will be constructed in one phase.
- The Cuyahoga Falls School District’s portion of the taxes will increase froma projected $172,000 annually to approximately $348,000 annually. The TIF (Tax Increment Financing) will remain in place until the City is fully reimbursed for their investment in this project. After the term of the TIF ends, the school district will begin receiving their normal share of real estate taxes which will be over $900,000 per year or almost 500% more than when the former State Road Shopping Center was located on this site.
The developer’s investment has increased substantially (from $40M to $58M) and the City will be partnering by providing additional public improvements to support the larger project. These improvements include new traffic signalization, construction of public water, sewer and electric lines, roadway improvements and lighting and landscaping, pedestrian ways, curb cuts and intersection improvements. The City’s additional financial assistance totals $1,500,000 of which $490,000 comes from federal funding and the remaining portion from cash on hand from the sale of the property.
When completed, Portage Crossing Market Place will provide approximately 500 new jobs to the area; create new revenue for the school district and the City. The City’s investment will be recouped in its entirety over time through the TIF payments. And in this economy, we are one of the few communities constructing a new retail center of this magnitude. What a great, new asset Portage Crossing will be to the State Road corridor!
-Susan L. Truby, Director of Development