Developers push for extended tax breaks on South Side Works proposals
Developers of proposed apartment complexes and parking at two vacant South Side Works sites say they need tax incentives to make their projects happen.
Critics and other private developers say the projects have benefited from nearly 16 years of tax breaks as part of a tax increment financing district, and further tax breaks aren't necessary to build in the prospering South Side entertainment and shopping district.
“The rest of us in the marketplace do not get those kind of incentives. These guys are double-dipping,” said Michael Healy, owner of The Healy Co., South Side-based real estate development, apartment rental and home improvement company. “This market can stand on its own two legs.”
Sen. Jim Ferlo, D-Highland Park, a member of the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh board of directors, which has approved the sale of the parcels, said tax incentives ensure that properties achieve their highest potential.
Michigan-based Village Green Holdings LLC wants to build 262 apartments and a 559-space parking garage on two vacant lots at 26th and Sidney streets. A partnership named 3030 South Water LP — which includes Downtown developer Ralph A. Falbo Inc. — has proposed 56 apartment units and parking spaces for a lot along South Water Street between the Spring Hill Suites hotel and UPMC's Sport Medicine Facility.
The developers have told the URA that city tax breaks are needed. They will not seek tax relief from Allegheny County or the Pittsburgh Public School District, according to the URA.
Neither developer responded to requests for comment.
The developers are paying for the infrastructure improvements funded by the TIF through the purchase price of the land, said Susheela Nemani-Stanger, manager of development for the URA. Average sale prices for properties in South Side Works increased 126 percent from 1999 through 2012, Nemani-Stanger.
The URA board approved selling the South Water Street property for $237,300 in June. In March, the board approved selling the properties at Sidney and 26th streets for about $1.05 million.
The three parcels are part of the South Side Works TIF district, a financing plan approved in 1998 that diverted property taxes to pay off the costs of building roads, sewers and other infrastructure. The developers have asked that the parcels be removed from the TIF district to qualify for a 10-year, partial tax abatement from the city.
County Council, City Council and the Pittsburgh Public Schools board must approve releasing the properties from the TIF. The proposal went before County Council on Tuesday, where it was referred to committee for study.
Eric Montarti, a senior policy analyst at the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy, said seeking release from the TIF district and then applying for further incentives is not needed. The developers benefited from the infrastructure without helping to pay for it, he said.
“It's someone trying to extend the life of favorable tax treatment beyond the life it was originally intended,” Montarti said. “The public has done its part.”
Aaron Aupperlee is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7986 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Would-be Troy Hill carjackers scared off by sirens
- Shaler man charged in death of girl, 6, not prosecuted in repeated alcohol cases
- Diminishing number of pilots takes toll on small airports in Western Pa.
- Pa. spends millions on death penalty cases that rarely end in execution
- 17-year-old male killed, 15-year-old female shot in McKeesport
- African-American Heritage Day Parade in Pittsburgh draws more than 40 groups
- Pittsburgh police officer hits pedestrian in East Liberty
- Newsmaker: Bob Herbert
- Police: Man steals cash from tip jar at South Side restaurant
- Police urge caution after several Perry South break-ins
- Lawsuit claims Plum School District ignored racially-motivated assaults against black students