The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, March 09, 2021 1:00 am

Lutheran gets TIF for downtown

Redevelopment panel OKs infrastructure agreement

DAVE GONG | The Journal Gazette

The Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission on Monday approved creation of a new tax increment financing district for Lutheran Health Network's new downtown hospital. 

The commission also approved a public infrastructure reimbursement agreement with the health care network for the $118 million project at West Main and Van Buren streets.

St. Joseph Hospital, which will be replaced, employs about 320 people, redevelopment manager Joe Giant said. Lutheran Downtown Hospital is expected to increase staff levels to about 800.

The commission voted 4-1 to approve the new TIF district, and the reimbursement agreement received unanimous approval. City Councilman Jason Arp, a member of the Redevelopment Commission, voted against the proposal.

A tax increment financing district captures property taxes generated by a development. Those funds can then be used for public improvements within the TIF district.

In this case, the newly created TIF district will generate the money used to reimburse Lutheran Health Network for several million dollars' worth of public infrastructure costs.

“To help offset some of the development costs, we've worked with the folks from Lutheran to identify up to $3.82 million in potentially reimbursable public improvements,” Giant said. “This includes substantial environmental remediation, utility relocation, things like streets, lighting and other site prep.”

It will take about seven years to reimburse the hospital network for the allowable public infrastructure costs, Giant added.  

“I'm thrilled that this is happening, and I'm thrilled that we'll be a constructive partner with the hospital,” Redevelopment Commission President Christopher Guerin said.

The TIF district was approved by the Fort Wayne City Council in a 5-4 vote Feb. 23, but the Redevelopment Commission's vote on Monday was the final step in the process, Giant said. 

Although the City Council ultimately approved the new TIF district, some council members said they were concerned over the timing of the request and the size of the impact it will have on Fort Wayne's tax revenue. 

The existing St. Joseph Hospital generates about $438,000 in taxes a year, Giant said Monday.

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