Columbus sets up tax district to fund apartment, grocery project

The city of Columbus is splitting off an area next to the Bartholomew County Jail into its own special taxing unit. That will be used as a tool to fund a $40 million project including apartments and a downtown grocery.

Columbus City Council this week gave its approval to the proposal to move the property just to the east of the jail into its own tax increment financing district allocation area. It had been previously part of a larger central TIF 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.

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 just east of the jail. The project would open in about three years. 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.

After the council’s approval, the measure goes back to the redevelopment commission for final actions.