Columbus continues move toward downtown grocery project

The city of Columbus is moving forward with plans for a downtown grocery and apartment complex next to the Bartholomew County Jail.

The city’s redevelopment commission gave its final approval yesterday to a plan to split off the area into its own special taxing unit called a Tax Increment Financing district allocation area . That will be used as a tool to fund the $40 million project. The City Council gave its approval to the change last month.

The property had previously been part of a larger central Tax Increment Financing district encompassing the downtown all the way to Walesboro. A TIF district allows the city redevelopment commission to siphon off increasing property taxes in an area to fund improvements within that zone, essentially allowing development to pay for itself.

In addition to providing the property for the project, the city through the Columbus Redevelopment Commission would guarantee more than $11 million dollars in bonds.The existing Central TIF district would expire before those bonds are paid off, requiring the allocation area change.

The city is partnering with developer Flaherty & Collins of Indianapolis to build 200 apartments and a 12 thousand to 15 thousand square foot grocery at the property. The project would open in about three years.