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Kingsport OKs amendment for apartment incentive

Matthew Lane • Updated Oct 8, 2015 at 8:18 AM

KINGSPORT - The Board of Mayor and Aldermen unanimously approved an amendment to the Riverbend Villas incentive package Tuesday night.

The amendment matches a move made by the Sullivan County Commission last month, thus paving the way for a local developer to move forward on plans to build Riverbend Villas – a 265 unit apartment complex located behind Walmart on Fort Henry Drive.

Earlier this summer two local developers requested tax increment financing (TIF) from the Kingsport Housing and Redevelopment Authority. Mitch Cox (of Johnson City) for Riverbend Villas and K.D. Moore (of Bristol, Tenn.) for a 168-unit complex called the “Overlook at Indian Trail” behind Kmart on E. Stone Drive.

TIF occurs when the KHRA takes the projected growth in property taxes on a project and uses that money to secure a loan from a bank. That loan is then granted to the property owner to help offset the cost of the project.

Originally, Cox requested $3 million in TIF, but reduced the amount to $2.6 million. One-third of the money would go back to the city for the creation of an adjacent park along the Holston River. As for Moore, he requested $1.5 million in TIF, with the city and county keeping a minimum of 35 percent of the increase in property taxes generated by the development.

These incentive packages were approved by the KHRA and BMA in September, but when the matter went before Sullivan County, the commission made a small change and added the “35 percent” deal to the Riverbend package as well.

Because of this change, the Riverbend package had to go back to the KHRA and BMA for approval, which has now been done. But again, one other change was made.

The Riverbend TIF now stands at $2 million. Kingsport will still receive one-third for the park and the remainder will go to the developer. As with the Overlook package, Sullivan County will receive 35 percent of the growth in property taxes for the Riverbend development once it's complete, or about $53,000 a year for the payback on the TIF (up to 15 years).

The remaining 65 percent of the growth in property taxes (about $98,000) would go towards paying off the TIF.

Riverbend is proposed to be a medium-density, town home style community with one-, two- and three-bedroom options. Amenities would include a club house, swimming pool, playground and garages. None of the buildings would be more than two stories, developers have said.

The total investment of Riverbend is estimated to be $20.4 million

Overlook will include a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units, with amenities similar to Riverbend – a club house, zero-entry swimming pool, playground, garages, wellness center and community fireplace. The buildings would be three stories.

Total investment for Overlook is estimated to be $17.6 million.

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