Dallas OKs First TIF District Focused on Multi-Station Transit Development

Millions of square feet of mixed-use development could be built near Dallas’ light rail stations in the future as part of the city’s first Tax Increment Financing district that links multiple stations and covers nearly 600 acres. The TIF district was approved by the Dallas City Council for a 30-year term and will cover 559 acres, as well as public rights of way, stretching from the Lovers Lane/Mockingbird area to the Lancaster/VA Medical Center region. Real property values are expected to grow from $320 million in 2008 to $3.52 billion by 2038 with future developments. During the life of the TIF, the accrued incremental tax revenue is expected to be about $328 million. “The primary focus of this effort is to encourage high-density, mixed-used, pedestrian-friendly developments around existing DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit) Rail stations,” Dallas city manager Mary Suhm said in a news release. “The TIF provides an effective development tool to encourage the redevelopment of important, centralized areas of the city, as well as new development.” The TIF came after four years of work between the city, DART, Southern Methodist University, Prescott Realty Group and other stakeholders in the region covered by the district, including Veterans Memorial Hospital, The Urban League and Urban Partners. The TIF is a financing method that uses taxes generated by a completed project to pay for development costs like land acquisition, according to an Aug. 1 CPN report about development near Dallas’ light rail system. Jud Pankey, CEO of Prescott Realty Group, said the major goal was to improve access and connections between the stations and key Dallas amenities and locations including the SMU campus; the George W. Bush Presidential Library, which will be built at SMU; the VA hospital; the Convention Center area and Cedar Crest Golf Course. Prescott Realty is planning two developments in the University Crossing area that would have a total taxable value of nearly $100 million and could begin contributing incremental taxes as soon as 2009. The Dallas firm’s projects in the TIF include The Shelby, which will have 55 residential lofts and 3,500 square feet of retail, and The Shamburger Lofts, which will have 400 residential units and 8,000 square feet of retail space. In addition to the presidential library, SMU also has development plans in the University Crossing area. The university’s master plan calls for the campus to expand east past North Central Expressway into the TIF area, where it would eventually build graduate housing, academic offices and research facilities, according to the Dallas Business Journal. Prescott Realty and other developers are building or planning $7 billion worth of DART-oriented projects in the region, according to the Aug. 1 CPN story. Lake Highlands Town Center, one of the city’s largest transit-oriented developments, is being built by Prescott for more than $300 million. It will cover 1.7 million to 2 million square feet of space and feature about 50,000 square feet of office space, 250,000 to 300,000 square feet of retail space and at least 1,000 residential units for sale and rent when completed, according to a March 22, 2007, CPN report. The project is expected to have a light rail station at the northeast corner of the development.