“If You Build It, They Will Come:” City Approves TIF for South Broad Stadium

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) — “If you build it, they will come,” said a Chattanooga resident at Monday’s Industrial Development Board Meeting.

The Industrial Development Board has unanimously approved the tax increment financing district for the South Broad Lookouts Stadium.

The project now moves to the City Council, who will cast their final votes on whether to build the Stadium on August ninth.

City and Lookouts Officials also responded to criticism that public money shouldn’t be used for private interests.

“The stadium lease will pay for twenty-two percent. So, there’s been stuff out there about no private involvement. This is a private-public partnership. Indeed, twenty-two percent of the stadium will be paid for by private funds,” said Chattanooga CFO Brent Goldberg.

Officials also explained the benefit of the thirty year bond agreement.

According to Goldberg, the thirty year agreement allows for the initial debt service to be as small as possible, giving the city time to build the stadium before paying off the bonds.

“The cost of the stadium, the construction cost, is estimated at seventy-two million dollars. We will have capitalized interest on the bond issue. This allows us to not have any payments for the first two years of the bonds. That gives us time to get the stadium built,” said Goldberg.

“None of this stuff is going to come and be operational two years before the ball park is open. Some of it might be six months before or even a year before, but you’re going to have that gap while you’re building and you’re spending money and you’re not bringing in the tax revenues,” said Hardball Capital CEO Jason Freier.

If revenue from the stadium overshoots the current estimates, the bonds can be refinanced in the future to be paid off more quickly.

The first payment wouldn’t be due until 2025, and the City may consider petitioning for state funding in the future.

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