Financing district expected to be approved by Port council will pave way for southside Cedar Vineyard development
A tax incremental financing plan that would pave the way for the Cedar Vineyard development on Port Washington’s south side and expansion of the city’s industrial park was approved last week by the Plan Commission.
No one commented on the plan during a public hearing before the commission, and it was approved unanimously.
Officials touted the fact that the TIF district is likely to pay for itself within 15 years, far sooner than initially expected.
“Even if the stars don’t align completely, it could still get paid off in less than 20 years,” Ald. Dan Becker, a member of the commission, said.
The TIF district projects include everything from the extension of utility lines to road improvements, bike paths, walking trails and money to help purchase a 101-acre nature preserve in the Cedar Vineyard subdivision.
In the industrial park, the funds would be used for utility work as well as the purchase of property — work that would not only allow for the expansion of the park but also facilitate an addition to one existing business and relocation of another.
The $7 million in improvements would help boost the value of the proposed 409-acre district by $71 million, according to a TIF study conducted by Trilogy Consulting.
The district is currently valued at $8.3 million.
City officials touted the fact that the TIF study used conservative numbers in its estimates to ensure the district can pay for itself.
For example, it used the longest development timeline and highest cost estimates for the improvements while anticipating the lowest revenue benefits, officials said.
“We’re optimistic the numbers work out,” City Administrator Mark Grams said. “The improvements in those areas will more than cover the costs.” Review Board, as well as the Common Council.
Aldermen are expected to approve the proposed district when they meet on Tuesday, Aug. 4. The Joint Review Board will then consider approval of the district on Aug. 19.
If the state then approves the TIF, the Highview Group is expected to purchase the land for the Cedar Vineyard development and begin work on the project.
The Cedar Vineyard development — the first phase of development in the district — would encompass 58 acres of residential lots, 68 acres for the vineyard and winery and 101 acres for a nature preserve.
“This is a very unique, high-quality development that would not be happening without the support of the TIF,” Christy Cramer of Trilogy Consulting told the Plan Commission. “In my opinion, it is economically feasible.”
The first phase of the plan would also include the development of six undeveloped or underdeveloped parcels in the industrial park, the plan states.
The second phase would encompass almost 105 acres in the industrial park, roughly half of which would be used for light industrial development, the plan states.
While the Cedar Vineyard portion of the TIF has gotten the most attention, Ald. Mike Ehrlich said no one should underestimate the district’s importance to the industrial park.
“This gives us the opportunity to expand our industrial park, which is sorely needed,” Ehrlich said.
If approved, Grams said, the city would likely begin planning for the infrastructure improvements for the Cedar Vineyard project, with work slated for next spring.
The Highview Group would like to begin its work on the subdivision already this fall, Grams added.