Coatesville revitalization took a step forward for Carl Chetty as his project received a zoning variance from the Zoning Hearing Board. Chetty asked for a decrease in city parking spaces for Tower one that will be located on Third Avenue and Business Route 30. City zoning regulations required 178 parking spaces and Chetty will now provide only 84 off-street parking spaces in a temporary lot. That is 94 spaces less than the city's required parking. Chetty will make up those spaces once the third tower is built. Chetty said once the third tower is built, the required parking would be in place for Tower one.
Tower one will contain 60 condominiums for the six upper stories as well as having first floor retail space. Current plans include Rite Aid as the first floor tenant. Chetty plans to build six additional towers in the downtown area along the Business 30 corridor. Tower three is planned to hold the largest amount of parking. He stated Tower one was too small to have a parking garage and that underground parking garages were too cost prohibitive. It explains why they asked for the zoning variance.
As part of draft conditions worked out earlier in the day, but was not voted on yet by the city council, Chetty promised if the parking reduction proved inadequate after Tower one was built, he would provide additional parking spaces wherever the city desired.
The 84 spaces, Chetty has agreed to provide, would be part of a fenced in lot that would not be available to the public to aid in the current city parking space shortage.
Coatesville Army & Navy business owner Judy Skolnick raised concerns over the reduced parking.
"When redevelopment plans were shown, there were two things I check on, one, to see if my store was still there, and two, to see if there was enough parking. You knew the parking required," Skolnick said.
Chetty responded, in the original agreement the city would be responsible for the parking. The city had planned on placing four parking garage structures around Main Street. Chetty said, "As time went on, there was no money for this." Chetty also stated an additional TIF would be needed for Tower three.
TIF or Tax Increment Financing is an effective financing and land development tool used for blighted or distressed areas to be redeveloped. TIF's aim is to create a stronger and broader economic tax base by attracting private development and new businesses to the TIF district. According to www.realtor.com, "TIF is best suited for large tracts of land in need of significant redevelopment. It adapts to different environmental and other circumstances of unique local jurisdictions."
Land and current buildings located within a TIF district real estate values are assessed. When the land is redeveloped, the real estate tax increases gained in the value for those buildings is returned to the TIF district for a certain period, usually 20 years. The national trend of those using TIF put the increased funding that is returned to the district towards infrastructure within the TIF district.
TIF districts are assessed as a whole and each building would not be built simultaneously, so not all of the redeveloped buildings will get the complete 20 years within the TIF structure. Chetty had received TIF approval for Tower one. Chetty estimated he would need $20 million for Tower three. The city, county and school district had voted to approve Chetty's TIF. He stated he would use the TIF money for land acquisition and demolition costs. He estimated he would need an additional $20 million in TIF money for Tower three. Tower three's total cost is estimated at $80 million.
Now that Chetty has his zoning variance for Tower one, he can begin finalizing plans for Tower one. He has estimated the condominiums will cost between $160,000 and $200,000.