The Tax Entity Committee that met Monday at Farmington City Hall approved an extension to the Redevelopment Area at Station Park, clearing the first step for Station Park owners to build a multi-use arena there.
Recent tax and school board meetings revealed CenterCal, owners of Station Park, and Farmington City sought approval for the extension in part to attract the Utah Jazz in moving their NBA G League developmental team, the Salt Lake City Stars, to Farmington.
The decision only opens up the possibility of $4 million in tax increment financing going toward construction of a $40 million, multi-purpose arena in a vacant lot near UTA's FrontRunner train station.
To obtain that funding, the project must meet specific criteria, said Brigham Mellor, Farmington City's economic development director. The arena must reach a tax-assessed value of at least $20 million and seat 5,000 people to qualify for the tax increment. It must also begin construction by May 31, 2022.
Otherwise, those funds go back to the taxing entities.
"All the tax money that will be generated is from Station Park’s property tax," Mellor said. "It has nothing to do with sales tax."
What comes next is CenterCal attempting to contract tenants to call the arena home, including the Stars, concert promoters and whoever else they'd want to pursue.
"I can’t imagine that Station Park would build anything until they have those contracts in place," Mellor said.
Mellor said potential tenants received the news about the tax committee's decision positively and involved parties are moving forward with the end-goal of building an arena.
Public hearings would also take place in at least two areas, he said.
First, a hearing at the planning commission level would take place to discuss the site plan. That's when discussions would be held about traffic mitigation and studies, parking and other topics surrounding the construction.
Mellor said an already-funded freeway interchange that will soon be built 1 mile north at Shepard Lane will alleviate some traffic at Park Lane, the interchange directly adjacent to Station Park. Availability of public transit through the FrontRunner train and buses that stop near the proposed arena site would also factor into those plans.
Second, the Redevelopment Agency would meet to discuss the agreement to reimburse part of the construction costs — those are typically paid out to cover the costs of things like water, utility and sewer upgrades, he said.
Mellor said much of the negative feedback he's heard from the city council and those in the community has come from a misunderstanding that the city is trying to ram through the project unchecked.
"It has very good potential but there are still a lot of hurdles to cross and a lot of opportunity for feedback," he said. "We’re still a long ways out and there are a lot of things to work though, so it’s important that the public participates and gives their feedback. As we go through this refiner’s fire of making it the best possible project we can make it, public input assists in that and we can work to address those concerns.
"Nothing is guaranteed and people still have the opportunity to weigh in on how this project is built or if this project is built."