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Impact fee deferral incentive a win-win
March 24, 2017

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Cape Coral City Council agreed this week to give a developer a concession.

A pretty big one.

The elected board voted to defer $1 million in road and utility impact fees for a 320-unit apartment complex to be built at Pine Island Road and Northeast 24th Avenue.

The agreement gives Aileron Capital Management, the developers of the Uptown at Liberty Park apartment complex project, a three-year deferment. Beginning the fourth year, the development company will then have five years over which to pay annually the fees due for the project's "impact" on city roadways and utility infrastructure.

No deferment for fire, public safety or parks and recreation impacts were granted.

The city estimates it will lose $55,348 in accrued interest over the 8-year period.

But, as city staff amply illustrated, this is a good deal for the city and its taxpayers nevertheless.

The arrangement calls for the $34.9 million apartment complex to break ground within the next year.

Also to commence construction at the 32-acre site located within the city's designated Veterans Investment Zone, is a $24.4 million, 131-unit assisted living facility and approximately 25,000 square feet of retail space along Pine Island Road.

The certificates of use required to open the various components of the complex are to be issued no later than Oct. 1, 2019, according to the development incentive agreement approved by Council.

All told, the project is expected to provide much-needed affordable housing and create more than 1,000 new jobs while leveraging an investment of $65.46 million in Cape Coral.

And the "loss" of $55,348 in interest those deferred fees could have been accruing? That loss will be offset by the estimated $2.7 million in new property tax revenues the city is expected to receive during the same time frame.

"This represents a substantial return on investment for the City of Cape Coral while encouraging new investment within our city...," said City Manager John Szerlag and staff in a memo to Council outlining the incentive agreement for Uptown at Liberty Park.

We agree.

Wholeheartedly.

The only detail nagging beneath the surface of the incentives package is the fact that the tax tally - excuse us, impact fee total - to be paid by the developers of this project is a whopping $1.7 million.

Who says growth doesn't pay for growth - and then some?

- Breeze editorial

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