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Critics Raise Questions Over New 195 Tax Break Plan for Providence

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

 

Community leaders -- and real estate professionals -- were among those who raised questions about Providence's stake in the newly brokered plan for a standardized tax stabilization agreement (TSA) for development of the 195 land on Tuesday night. 

In a joint statement released just before the City Council Finance Committee meeting, city and state leaders including Governor Gina Raimondo, Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza, City Council President Luis Aponte, and General Assembly leadership lauded the proposal which calls for a two-tiered TSA for projects above $10 million and $50 million respectively, after a proposal at the State Senate to give the state full control of 195 negotiations fell flat at the end of the General Assembly session. 

“We all agree that the I-195 land is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for both Providence and Rhode Island, and we need to work together to foster investment and put people back to work. This ordinance provides powerful tools that will encourage development, drive our economy forward, and help get shovels in the ground soon. These TSAs will offer a streamlined and predictable process for developers and will open opportunities for companies across the globe to invest and create jobs in Providence.”

John Jacobson, a Providence real estate professional who has been an outspoken critic of the city's past handling of TSAs, questioned the benefit to the state's capital city - versus the state itself.

"I think that the majority of the tax benefits will go to the State as they see the income tax and sales tax in the first 5 years. Of course there will be some trickle down," said Jacobson. "The good news is that a $10 million project is significant and the 195 commission still has the ability to vet the projects and shape the development."

"In the end the State should be compensating Providence more in the form of PILOTS. This may be happening," continued Jacobson. "A new law passed that will help offset the TSA by 10%. And there is a 25 million fund to help the 195 projects go."

Nuts and Bolts

Under the agreement announced Tuesday, projects over $10 million would be eligible for a 15-year tax stabilization agreement that with no taxes in the first year, base land tax only in years two through four, a 5% property tax in year five, and then a gradual annual increase for the remainder of the term.

Officials also announced five 20-year TSAs for which projects over $50 million will be eligible on a first come, first served basis, saying that offering this limited number of 20-year agreements for large projects would "provide incentive for early and expeditious development."

"We'll make the 195 land more attractive, put it [where it] will push developers over the decision point and come and invest money and resources in Providence in way that invests in our future," said Elorza before the Finance committee.

Supporters -- and critics -- of the newly proposed TSA deal for 195 packed the City Council chamber on Tuesday.

TSAs had come under scrutiny last year, as the City Internal Auditor along with the City Council conducted a comprehensive review of the current TSAs in the city -- and opponents to new tax breaks on the 195 land began voicing their concerns.  

At the finance committee meeting, Chris Marsella with Marsella Development Corporation, raised the issue of the new deal applying only to 195 lands for the new tax treatment -- as opposed to the including the whole city.  

"We support the tool for the 195 land, [but] there should be a citywide plan," said Marsella before the committee.  "Yes 195 is a once in a lifetime plan, but there's been a thirty year testing ground in the city.   We've had three million square feet in property [developed] at Capital Center, and three million more to go.  Consider including Capital Center, and recognize that Providence is open for business citywide."

Labor Support, Social Groups Call for Benefits

Supporters of the new TSA deal who came out to the packed city hall chamber included union leaders, who praised the potential of the tax breaks to incentivize construction downtown -- and create jobs.

"This ordinance is so important," said Paul MacDonald, a Teamsters official with the Providence Central Federated Council. "We suffer from thirty to forty percent unemployment.  Many of our members haven't seen good work in a long time."

The joint release by city and state leaders on Tuesday said that the new agreements "include women and minority business enterprise incentives as well as apprenticeship requirements for construction and use of the City’s First Source requirements to encourage employment for Providence residents."

During the hearing, however, community groups and labor organizations called for enhanced community benefits in any I-195 tax breaks.

Among their requets are that all companies receiving public subsidies in the city of Providence "provide good, living wage jobs, hire local residents from in need areas of the city, and negotiate the construction of community benefits projects with local residents."

"We've been working with the Council President," said Jesse Stricker with Jobs for Justice on Wednesday. "We want living wage of $15, health benefits, and affordable housing."

RI Building and Construction Trades Council, Direct Action for Rights and Equality (DARE), UNITE HERE Local 217, IUPAT Local 195, DC 11, District 1199 SEIU New England, RI Progressive Democrats of America, Teamsters Local 251, Fuerza Laboral / Power of Workers, Environmental Justice League of RI, RI Carpenters Local 94, Restaurant Opportunities Center RI (ROC United), Mount Hope Neighborhood Association, American Friends Service Committee, RI Jobs With Justice, Occupy Providence, Olneyville Neighborhood Association (ONA), Fossil Free RI, Providence Youth Student Movement (PrYSM), Prosperity for RI, and the Brown University Warren Alpert Medical School Prison Health Interest Group signed on to the letter calling for the actions.

 

Related Slideshow: Current Tax Stabilization Agreements in Providence

Prev Next

130 Westminster St.

The Arcade - 103 Westminster St. Associates, LLC

Approval Date: 12/31/2012

Assessed Valuation: $1,826,200

Actual Tax Prior to TSA: $44,137

2013 True Tax: $67,113

2013 Stabilized Tax Payment: $16,742

Tax Status: Current

End Date of Agreement: 12/31/2022

Prev Next

122 Fountain St.

Sportsman Inn - HM Ventures, LLC

Approval Date: 4/20/2012

Assessed Valuation: $1,607,800

Actual Tax Prior to TSA: $77,010

2013 True Tax: $59,087

2013 Stabilized Tax Payment: $9,601

Tax Status: Past Due

End Date of Agreement: 12/31/2022

Prev Next

244 Oak St. + 33 Magnolia St.

Roger Williams Brewery, LLC

Approval Date: 1/1/2012

Assessed Valuation: $496,800

Actual Tax Prior to TSA: N/A

2013 True Tax: $18,257

2013 Stabilized Tax Payment: $18,140

Tax Status: Past Due

End Date of Agreement: 12/31/2024

Prev Next

1 AT&T Plaza

Hasbro - Empire LaSalle, LLC

Approval Date: 7/1/2012

Assessed Valuation: $25,092,400

Actual Tax Prior to TSA: $547,553

2013 True Tax: $922,146

2013 Stabilized Tax Payment: $47,568

Tax Status: Current

End Date of Agreement: 12/31/2024

Prev Next

100 Weybosset St.

Providence G Building - Providence Capital, LLC

Approval Date: 3/20/2012

Assessed Valuation: $2,575,400

Actual Tax Prior to TSA: $129,610

2013 True Tax: $94,609

2013 Stabilized Tax Payment: $32,557

Tax Status: Current

End Date of Agreement: 7/1/2025

Prev Next

11 Dorrance St.

The Biltmore

Approval Date: 3/15/2012

Assessed Valuation: $20,162,400

Actual Tax Prior to TSA: $694,575

2013 True Tax: $740,698

2013 Stabilized Tax Payment: $124,506

Tax Status: Past Due

End Date of Agreement: 12 Years from Commencement

Prev Next

1 Park Row West

Johnston & Wales University Dorms - Capitol Cove, LLC

Approval Date: 3/11/2005

Amendment Date: 3/8/2010

Assessed Valuation: $2,252,500

Actual Tax Prior to TSA: $518,247

2013 True Tax: $82,779

2013 Stabilized Tax Payment: $968,606

Tax Status: Current

End Date of Agreement: 12/31/2023

Prev Next

125 Washington St.

Mercantile Block Assoc., LLC

Approval Date: 11/16/2009

Assessed Valuation: $1,758,000

Actual Tax Prior to TSA: $59,851

2013 True Tax: $64,607

2013 Stabilized Tax Payment: $34,248

Tax Status: Current

End Date of Agreement: 12/31/2020

Prev Next

1 Sims Ave.

Milhaus LLC - The Steel Yard

Approval Date: 1/8/2007

Assessed Valuation: $323,400

Actual Tax Prior to TSA: N/A

2013 True Tax: $11,885

2013 Stabilized Tax Payment: $19,641

Tax Status: Current

End Date of Agreement: 12/31/2016

Prev Next

60 Valley St.

60 Valley St. LLC (c/o Armory Revival)

Approval Date: 9/26/2006

Assessed Valuation: $2,797,000

Actual Tax Prior to TSA: $14,333

2013 True Tax: $102,790

2013 Stabilized Tax Payment: $11,730

Tax Status: Current

End Date of Agreement: 12/31/2016

Prev Next

160 Niantic Ave.

160 Niantic Ave. Morvco Realty LLC

Approval Date: 5/27/2004

Assessed Valuation: $1,305,300

Actual Tax Prior to TSA: $50,612

2013 True Tax: $47,970

2013 Stabilized Tax Payment: $38,550

Tax Status: Current

End Date of Agreement: 12/31/2015

Prev Next

50 Holden St.

Promenade Building Assoc. - The Foundry

Approval Date: 5/17/2004

Assessed Valuation: $4,238,200

Actual Tax Prior to TSA: $42,802

2013 True Tax: $155,754

2013 Stabilized Tax Payment: $104,814

Tax Status: Current

End Date of Agreement: 12/31/2015

Prev Next

21 Gordon Ave.

South Providence Development Corp. (Keith Fernandez)

Approval Date: 1/16/2004

Assessed Valuation: $1,042,600

Actual Tax Prior to TSA: $5,708

2013 True Tax: $38,316

2013 Stabilized Tax Payment: $10,984

Tax Status: Past Due

End Date of Agreement: 12/31/2016

Prev Next

10 Memorial Blvd.

GTECH Corp. Headquarters

Approval Date: 7/15/2003

Assessed Valuation: $54,767,800

Actual Tax Prior to TSA: $236,619

2013 True Tax: $2,012,717

2013 Stabilized Tax Payment: $1,100,000

Tax Status: Current

End Date of Agreement: 12/31/2026

Prev Next

65 Eddy St.

Peerless Lofts

Approval Date: 11/22/2002

Assessed Valuation: $12,843,700

Actual Tax Prior to TSA: $80,100

2013 True Tax: $472,006

2013 Stabilized Tax Payment: $33,407

Tax Status: Current

End Date of Agreement: 12/31/2016

Prev Next

235 Promenade St.

Promenade Building Assoc. - The Foundry

Approval Date: 11/22/2002

Assessed Valuation: $15,810,300

Actual Tax Prior to TSA: $58,201

2013 True Tax: $581,029

2013 Stabilized Tax Payment: $30,345

Tax Status: Current

End Date of Agreement: 12/31/2015

Prev Next

236 Westminster St.

Alice Building LLC c/o Cornish Associates

Approval Date: 12/28/2001

Assessed Valuation: $3,680,500

Actual Tax Prior to TSA: $25,531

2013 True Tax: $135,258

2013 Stabilized Tax Payment: $13,439

Tax Status: Current

End Date of Agreement: 12/31/2014

Prev Next

100 Providence Place

The 903

Approval Date: 12/21/2001

Assessed Valuation: $68,573,700

Actual Tax Prior to TSA: $200,000

2013 True Tax: $2,520,083

2013 Stabilized Tax Payment: $620,474

Tax Status: Current

End Date of Agreement: 12/31/2015

Prev Next

95 Chestnut St.

Hacht Development, LLC

Approval Date: 4/15/2012

Assessed Valuation: $3,091,300

Actual Tax Prior to TSA: $110,665

2013 True Tax: $113,605

2013 Stabilized Tax Payment: $20,453

Tax Status: Past Due

End Date of Agreement: 12/31/2022

Prev Next

265 Oxford St.

Institute for Non-Violence

Approval Date: 1/1/2012

Assessed Valuation: $1,393,700

Actual Tax Prior to TSA: $32,928

2013 True Tax: $51,218

2013 Stabilized Tax Payment: $1,000

Tax Status: Current

End Date of Agreement: 12/31/2021

Prev Next

145 Globe St.

Victory Square - JAG Investment Realty, LLC

Approval Date: 7/18/2011

Assessed Valuation: $7,234,800

Actual Tax Prior to TSA: $294,485

2013 True Tax: $265,879

2013 Stabilized Tax Payment: $252,750

Tax Status: Current

End Date of Agreement: 12/31/2013

Prev Next

25 Eagle St.

Butcher Block Mill, LLC

Approval Date: 1/1/2011

Assessed Valuation: $590,500

Actual Tax Prior to TSA: $23,469

2013 True Tax: $21,701

2013 Stabilized Tax Payment: $11,431

Tax Status: Current

End Date of Agreement: 12/31/2023

Prev Next

50 Agnes St.

50 Agnes, LLC

Approval Date: 1/1/2012

Assessed Valuation: $521,800

Actual Tax Prior to TSA: $21,422

2013 True Tax: $19,176

2013 Stabilized Tax Payment: $16,807

Tax Status: Current

End Date of Agreement: 12/31/2024

Prev Next

103 Dike St.

Music House, LLC - Fete

Approval Date: 1/1/2012

Assessed Valuation: $589,700

Actual Tax Prior to TSA: $17,555

2013 True Tax: $21,671

2013 Stabilized Tax Payment: $5,417

Tax Status: Current

End Date of Agreement: 12/31/2024

Prev Next

41 Central St.

Yet Another LLC - Art Recreation Center

Approval Date: 4/16/2007

Assessed Valuation: $287,100

Actual Tax Prior to TSA: $12,879

2013 True Tax: $10,551

2013 Stabilized Tax Payment: $5,862

Tax Status: Past Due

End Date of Agreement: 12/31/2024

Prev Next

200 Allens Ave.

200 Allens Ave. LLC (Capstone Properties)

Approval Date: 1/8/2007

Assessed Valuation: $1,834,300

Actual Tax Prior to TSA: $74,754

2013 True Tax: $67,411

2013 Stabilized Tax Payment: $23,537

Tax Status: Past Due

End Date of Agreement: 12/31/2016

Prev Next

35 Hylestead St.

65 Pavillion LLC

Approval Date: 8/1/2005

Assessed Valuation: $675,500

Actual Tax Prior to TSA: $13,345

2013 True Tax: $24,825

2013 Stabilized Tax Payment: $9,752

Tax Status: Current

End Date of Agreement: 12/31/2016

Prev Next

203 Weybosset St.

Zampalis Realty (Zampalis Realty LLC)

Approval Date: 8/1/2005

Assessed Valuation: $547,900

Actual Tax Prior to TSA: $12,565

2013 True Tax: $20,135

2013 Stabilized Tax Payment: $31,300

Tax Status: Current

End Date of Agreement: 12/31/2024

Prev Next

166 Valley St.

Rising Mills Project (166 Valley St. LLC, Struever Bros)

Approval Date: 12/1/2003

Assessed Valuation: $16,749,900

Actual Tax Prior to TSA: $91,763

2013 True Tax: $615,559

2013 Stabilized Tax Payment: $80,535

Tax Status: Current

End Date of Agreement: 12/31/2011

Prev Next

100 Exchange St.

Intercontinental Fund IV F/K/A Cap Hill Prop

Approval Date: 1/16/2004

Assessed Valuation: $107,237,400

Actual Tax Prior to TSA: $1,888,763

2013 True Tax: $2,910,464

2013 Stabilized Tax Payment: $1,086,829

Tax Status: Current

End Date of Agreement: 12/31/2023

Prev Next

5 Avenue of the Arts

Masonic Temple - RP Providence Owner LLC

Approval Date: 7/15/2003

Assessed Valuation: $45,974,100

Actual Tax Prior to TSA: $79,072

2013 True Tax: $1,689,548

2013 Stabilized Tax Payment: $215,843

Tax Status: Current

End Date of Agreement: 12/31/2025

Prev Next

532 Kinsley Ave.

Monahasset Mills LLC

Approval Date: 11/22/2002

Assessed Valuation: $10,857,600

Actual Tax Prior to TSA: N/A

2013 True Tax: N/A

2013 Stabilized Tax Payment: $12,836

Tax Status: Credit

End Date of Agreement: 12/31/2017

Prev Next

210 Westminster St.

Harrisburg Assoc. LLC and Lerner Assoc. LLC

Approval Date: 11/8/2002

Assessed Valuation: $1,188,300

Actual Tax Prior to TSA: $19,404

2013 True Tax: $43,670

2013 Stabilized Tax Payment: $6,349

Tax Status: Current

End Date of Agreement: 12/31/2016

Prev Next

220 Westminster St.

Harrisburg Assoc. LLC and Lerner Assoc. LLC

Approval Date: 11/8/2002

Assessed Valuation: $2,004,800

Actual Tax Prior to TSA: $10,302

2013 True Tax: $73,676

2013 Stabilized Tax Payment: $10,302

Tax Status: Current

End Date of Agreement: 12/31/2016

Prev Next

100 Fountain St.

Steelwood (Palmer Building) (LAF Realty LLC Inc.)

Approval Date: 4/25/2002

Assessed Valuation: $503,300

Actual Tax Prior to TSA: $48,935

2013 True Tax: $18,496

2013 Stabilized Tax Payment: $22,970

Tax Status: Past Due

End Date of Agreement: 12/31/2016

Prev Next

77 Reservoir Ave.

Mashpaug Associates LLC

Approval Date: 11/9/2001

Assessed Valuation: $6,953,300

Actual Tax Prior to TSA: $113,538

2013 True Tax: $255,534

2013 Stabilized Tax Payment: $108,829

Tax Status: Current

End Date of Agreement: 12/31/2015

 
 

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