Hamilton considers another incentive for Rossville Flats project

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Hamilton City Council will decide later this month on completing an incentive package for the Rossville Flats mixed-use project that was set up with a unique legislative action in February.

In December, the council approved a 15-year, 100% Community Reinvestment Act incentive. And then, in February, the council took temporary ownership of the project for a few minutes to allow the developer of the Rossville Flats project, Jim Cohen of CMC Properties, to apply for a rebate payment of tax increment financing, or TIF, money.

Cohen was also one of the principals that worked on The Marcum development in downtown Hamilton.

As the CRA will provide 15 years of a tax break for Rossville Flats, City Council is expecting to provide another 15 years of incentives. Later this month, the board is expected to establish a municipal public tax improvement TIF district.

“Costs have continued to escalate during the building process, which is one of the reasons why these sort of incentives are so desirable,” said Tom Vanderhorst, Hamilton’s executive director of External Services.

There are two parts to the 30-year incentive structure for the Rossville Flats project.

The first is the previously approved 15-year CRA. The next includes incentives related to the TIF district.

From the 16th to 22nd year of the project, the developer will receive an additional tax break to help reduce the developer’s operating costs while improving the project’s economic viability, said Vanderhorst.

From the 23rd to 30th year of the incentive structure, Hamilton City Schools and Butler Tech will each get property taxes on the incremental increase of the taxes. These payments would come from the TIF district.

Council is expected to make the decision at its Sept. 28 meeting.

Vanderhorst said this incentive is designed to help Cohen “develop a project we would be proud of in our community.”

“This is a high-quality developer, and they’re doing a second project in Hamilton,” he said. “The Marcum was the first significant downtown development we’ve had in decades, and it was so successful he’s doing a second project.”

The Rossville Flats project ― which incorporates multiple parcels on the northern side of the 300 block of Main Street ― is a $12 million mixed-use building that includes 76 one-bedroom market-rate apartments (with an anticipated rental rate of $1,300 a month) and 2,400 square feet of commercial space.

The incentives are “critically important” for the project because of inflation, Cohen said.

“The only thing I can tell you is we’re spending more to build one-bedroom apartments on Main Street in Hamilton than we spent to build two- and three-bedrooms in Lebanon, which is a project we’re just finishing up,” he said. “The costs have just gone up astronomically.”

Cohen’s development in Lebanon includes 110 apartments and has rents that range between $1,300 and $2,500 a month.

Rossville Flats is expected to open this spring and is in conversation with a couple of possible tenants.

The development will be across Main Street from the planned Agave & Rye project in the former Ritzi Body Shop and near Hamilton’s Urban Backyard.

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