University Corners Developer Requests Tax Rebate
One of the most prized business properties in North Central Florida is an empty field that soon may get developed.
Developers of the University Corners project are asking for tax breaks from the city of Gainesville.
The decision must be made by the city's Community Redevelopment Agency.
"This is a neighborhood this is not Downtown," said Dave Wilson who is a reisdent.
Wilson of Gainesville said developing a ten story building right here on the corner of University Avenue and 13th Street is something he doesn't believe in.
"I think it's too big and I think they give away to the developer is too much," said Wilson.
University Corners is $170 million project that includes a hotel, a parking garage, apartments and retail stores.
The land has been vacant for more than six years.
Brett Dill with Swerdlow Group which is one of the developers is asking the Gainesville City Commission to approve a major tax rebate for the $170 million project.
"Therefore that is a little compensation for doing things that aren't necessarily economically viable on their own, but produce a project that we think services the community," said Dill.
According to Dill, University Corners will bring hundreds of jobs to North Central Florida.
One neighbor said the property is a great piece of real estate and the city shouldn't give the developer the tax break.
"It might look OK. It might occupy the land, but will it be really something Gainesville can benefit from and it won't for many years if we give them this huge tax break," said Albert Matheny who is a resident.
Dill and his partners explained to city commissioners why they need the tax rebate, but he said the project will not go on if the tax rebate is denied.
"At this point this particular project does not qualify as transformational. Maybe ten years ago yes, but today in light if Innovation Square and other developments it just isn't," said Mayor Ed Braddy.
Mayor Braddy said the city commission has the last say on granting the tax subsidies of almost $48 million.
"It's right between the University of Florida and the Krispy Creme . That's prime time . I don't think it deserves large amounts of taxpayers subsidies to make it work," said Mayor Braddy.
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