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Meridian City Council takes steps to approve new downtown-area urban renewal district

During Tuesday night’s Meridian City Council Meeting, the first reading to approve the new Northern Gateway Urban Renewal Project took place.

Back in July, city council approved two spots of downtown Meridian for areas of study. The Idaho Block, which is just over an acre, and the new urban renewal district called Northern Gateway, which takes 77 of the existing 150 acres out of the old district.

The City of Meridian and Meridian Development Corporation, or MDC, previously stated they wanted to look at creating a new district because the old district wasn’t performing — and the old district sunsets in 2026.

“Unfortunately, MDC wasn’t able to accomplish all that they want to accomplish and all the projects that were included in the original plan,” she said. “They kind of suffered from the ’08-’09 recession, which kind of hampered new private investments downtown,” Economic Development Administrator Victoria Cleary previously told BoiseDev.

[Meridian could add long-planned new downtown-area urban renewal district]

Northern Gateway

The ordinance read during Tuesday’s meeting called the Northern Gateway District Urban Renewal Project ‘Option A’. A memo from Meridian’s Community Development Department said the new district will ‘encourage investment’.

“The establishment of the 126.23-acre Northern Gateway District will encourage new investment and continued redevelopment of private properties, generating tax increment to fund capital improvements and continued public-private partnerships to support new development,” the memo said.

A map of the Northern Gateway area provided by Meridian Development Corp., with labels added.

The memo also said that the large district needed infrastructure improvements. It continued saying there are needed utility and street upgrades that total $33,925,000 in improvement projects.

“Current market rents often cannot support rising development costs or produce the returns necessary to justify private equity investment or to secure traditional bank financing for the redevelopment of many small parcels throughout the District,” the memo said. “The assemblage of parcels can spread soft developments costs over a larger area and, when coupled with MDC’s ability to reimburse qualifying public infrastructure improvements associated with new construction, can spur development interest.”

The district is projected to bring in a good deal of tax increment revenue.

“Based on projected new private investment of $310,000,000, it is estimated that redevelopment and other Plan activities will generate tax increment revenue of $35,085,665 over the 20-year life of the Plan,” the memo said.

This is reading one of three. The next reading will take place during the November 30 city council meeting, where the public hearing will also happen.

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Autum Robertson - BoiseDev Reporter
Autum Robertson is a BoiseDev reporter focused on Meridian and McCall. Contact her at autum@boisedev.com.

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