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Chandler to Lay Out Economic Incentives

PayPal in February moved into an unoccupied building on Price Road in Chandler. Photo credit: Cindy Hernandez/The Republic

By Chris Coppola for The Arizona Republic

Chandler is preparing to pay more than $2M in taxpayer funds to two corporate giants as part of an agreement that promised the incentives in exchange for bringing jobs to the city.

The payments to PayPal and General Motors, both located along the city’s Price Road Corridor, are included in the city’s 2015-16 budget proposal as part of a nearly $10M allocation from a Strategic Economic Development Reserve Fund.

Additional payments also are part of the proposed spending, including money to support two major downtown projects the city hopes will break ground within the next year.

In Arizona, cities are able to offer public incentives to private interests as part of the economic development efforts, but they must demonstrate that the public benefit will be of an equal or greater value to the community, Bolick said. A key element in the structure of the Chandler deals, Bolick said, is that “the company apparently is creating the jobs before any payment is triggered, which is certainly better than a promise.”

Downtown, office park incentives

About $5M of the total economic development spending for next year is aimed at two major downtown projects. In each case, a private developer currently is in negotiations with the city on a development agreement.

More than $3M aimed at the city making improvements to an empty parcel of land owned by the city at the southwest corner of Chandler Boulevard and Arizona Avenue. Vintage Partners, a Valley development group, is in negotiations on an agreement to bring a new, mixed-used project to the site anchored by Arizona’s first Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, an eight-screen dine-in movie theater, along with an adjacent brew pub and several other new restaurants (AZBEX, May 12). The city sees the project as bringing jobs and sales tax revenue to the city.

The situation is similar with a nearly $2M allocation included for another city owned property downtown, at the northwest corner of Frye Road and Arizona Avenue downtown, which also is vacant and currently used for public parking.

The city is in negotiations with Phoenix-based Ryan Companies US Inc., which has proposed a two-building office complex with related retail and restaurants for the site (AZBEX, Aug. 12, 2014). The complex would be designed to bring employers to the buildings. Like the other downtown site, the money would be used for infrastructure and other public improvements at the site.

City officials have extended the deadline into October for finalizing a development agreement with Ryan Companies.

Read more at The Arizona Republic

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