City considers expanding downtown construction and renovation incentives

POSTED: 10:36 PM MST Nov 14, 2012    UPDATED: 06:43 PM MDT Mar 10, 2014 
EL PASO, Texas -

(Nov. 2012 story)

The City Development Department is looking into extending more tax rebates and fee waivers to development projects in Downtown El Paso. 

The "Downtown Sustainable City Centers Incentive" has been in place for a month, said City Development Director Mathew McElroy.  

On Tuesday City Council voted to explore expanding the downtown "level one incentive area," which is currently bound within a three-block radus around San Jacinto Plaza. 

A "level two incentive area" spans almost seven blocks south and east of the "level one" boundary. 

The "Downtown Sustainable City Centers Incentive" allows for an eligible project within the "level one" area to reap a 100-percent rebate on the City's portion of property taxes, for ten years, whereas the "level two" benefit extends just five years.

The incentive also provides a rebate on the City's portion of sales taxes from ground floor retail operations.

A "level one" area project has access to a 100-percent rebate for ten years. A "level two" area project is granted a 50-percent rebate for five years.

Due to the passage of the quality of life bond in the Nov. 6 election, the city council tasked the development department with reevaluating the "level one" zone to possibly stretch beyond its three-block radius surrounding San Jacinto Plaza. 

"Why not a three mile radius?" countered City Representative Emma Accosta during Tuesday Council meeting. 

McElroy said the Development Dept. is considering expanding the "level one" zone to reflect the growth surrounding landmark projects planned for the downtown area like the baseball stadium and trolley corridor.

The incentives also include a 100-percent waiver of certain planning and building construction fees and a 100-percent rebate for the City’s portion of sales tax used on materials and labor for both "level one" and "level two" zones. 

According to the city development deparment, the "Downtown Sustainable City Centers Incentive" will end September 1, 2014.

(Nov. 2012 story)