By Eric Jay Toll for Arizona Builder’s Exchange
Developers planning innovative transit-oriented projects in Phoenix may find the city ready to offset some of the predevelopment costs with a competitive grant program. The matching grants for TOD projects will come from a $2.9M U.S. Housing and Urban Development grant. Tomorrow, the city council considers slicing off $500K from those funds for the TOD grants.
City officials say the proposed predevelopment assistance grants will match developer funds to cover costs associated with multifamily, commercial, mixed and nonprofit uses. The purpose is to help offset some of the upfront expenses associated with creating TODs. The grants are restricted to areas of the city identified in the Transit-Oriented Development Strategic Policy Framework adopted one year ago by the council.
The Planning and Development Department will issue a Request for Proposal looking for qualifying projects. It has established a competitive point scale which will guide staff in selecting qualifying projects. If the council approves the request tomorrow night, staff will issue the RFP this month with a 60-day submission window.
The city is concurrently releasing a solicitation for redevelopment specialists—this RFP from Community and Economic Development. The intent of the second RFP is to fund redevelopment services at the earliest stages of TOD conceptual planning. The $500K matching grant is to help partially reimburse later development process design-phase work prior to construction.
Each application has to be approved by the city and reviewed by the Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities at H.U.D. prior to funds being released. Acting planning director Alan Stephenson is responsible for the project.