Developer of Hampton Inn for NSB's Flagler Avenue positions project for supplemental funding even before primary funds secured; doesn't wash with one commissioner
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Photos by Dale Smith / Hampton Inn developer David Swentor gestures as CRA Director Tony Otte stands by his side in explaining the timing of a special designation that could generate additional funding, even before the hotel has secured its primary funding at Tuesday night's New Smyrna Beach City Commission meeting. Mayor Adam Barringer, shown at far left, supported the request, but Commissioner Jim Hathaway, seated next to him, did not.
Editor's note: The following story was submitted by contributing writer Dale Smith:
NEW SMYRNA BEACH – The City Commission tonight approved a resolution allowing the developer of the proposed Hampton Inn & Suites on Flagler Avenue to be designated as a Qualified Target Industry Business.
By doing so, the hotel's corporation, HIHO Inc., is now eligible to apply for incentives through the Brownfield Redevelopment Bonus Refund Program.
Tuesday night's action was carried on 4-1 vote, with the blessing of Mayor Adam Barringer and Commissioners Jack Grasty, Judy Reiker and Lynne Plaskett. Commissioner Jim Hathaway dissented.
Since HIHO's David Swentor has until April 26 to come up with funding for the hotel and to secure a signed contract for the purchase of the land, Hathaway questioned the timing of the request.
"If the applicant has until April, why now?" asked Hathaway. “Isn’t this premature by putting in a request for a waiver guaranteeing the number of employees the hotel expects to hire and when the property even hasn’t been purchased?”
Tony Otte, executive director of the Community Redevelopment Agency, whose CRA district encompasses that portion of Flagler Avenue where the hotel is planned, said there is a time factor asking for the waiver.
Swentor agreed with the urgency because money that is available for this waiver program could end quickly if other projects request the same thing.
“There is $1.8 million in capital available and it could be gone before we can get to it,” Swentor said. “So, yes, there is a time factor.”
By approving the resolution, HIHO will request a waiver from the local financial support requirement that is authorized under the brownfield program. He asked both Swentor and if the applicant has until April, why now.
The city commission designated the CRA area as a brownfield area through a resolution in August, 2009.
HIHO, LLC applied for the bonus refund program which provides a payment of $2,000 for each job created. In order to qualify for the program, guidelines require:
* That the developer has to create at least 10 jobs;
* The development has to cost in excess of $500,000;
* The payments are made by the state to the developer over four years;
*The developer must show that the project will diversify and strengthen the economy of the area surrounding the site.
About the contributing writer:
Dale Smith is a resident of New Smyrna Beach, who has reported on local news in Volusia County since October 2009. His writing background includes a mix of journalism and public relations in several community newspapers and a p.r. firm in northern Virginia. He attended Barton Academy in Barton, Vt., and the Cambridge (Mass.) School of Broadcasting for radio & TV broadcasting.
About the Blogger
Henry Frederick is editor/publisher of Headline Surfer, Florida's first 24/7 Internet newspaper, launched April 7, 2008 in New Smyrna Beach, and accessed via HeadlineSurfer.com, NSBNews.net & VolusiaNews.net. Headline Surfer is a registered trademark of NSB News LLC. Frederick was the top winner in the 2012 Florida Press Club contest: 1st place for Blog Writing & 3rd place each for General News Writing, Public Safety Reporting & Best Online Presence (with social media). He's received 18 major journalism awards as a breaking news, investigative reporter & city editor for daily newspapers in Florida, Massachusetts, New York & Connecticut since the mid-1980s.
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