Grand Forks is set to subsidize a skyway that would connect a pair of downtown redevelopments to a parking garage.
City Council members, acting as the city’s Jobs Development Authority, voted on Monday to spend $375,000 on a $715,000 skyway that would span South Fourth Street and connect a multistory garage on one side with the Selkirk on 4th Condos, Norby’s Work Perks and The Argyle on the other. Those businesses would find another $684,000 for the remainder of the skyway costs and a series of “connecting links” between the three businesses. The total project is expected to cost about $1 million.
Selkirk and The Argyle are beneficiaries of city-designated Renaissance Zones, in which developers can expand or renovate a site in exchange for tax breaks. Estimates supplied to city staff indicate that the city, state and other taxing authorities will give up a combined $735,000 in business income tax and property tax revenue over five years.
City staff said the zones encourage development that might not happen otherwise.
Staff at Norby’s, JLG Architects and Green Jacket LLC -- the developers putting together the skyway -- estimate the new-look stretch of Fourth will bring in another 110 residents and 80 workers among the three businesses.
City Administrator Todd Feland told Development Authority members the city should expect to recoup the money it spent on the skyway in five to eight years. The presumption is that more people will pay to park at the connected ramp, which is city owned.
A private development group has proposed to own and maintain the new skyway, which means it would not be public, per se, but Feland told council members on Monday that “as part of the agreement of us funding, helping to fund this, I think we’d want to try to make it as available as possible.”