CITY CENTER (CLOSED)
Year of creation: 1994
Size: 231 acres
Termination date: August 2018
The City Center District, now closed, was created in 1994 as the 4th Street Urban Renewal District. The project area was declared a deteriorated or a deteriorating area in which the rehabilitation, conservation and redevelopment of the urban renewal area is necessary in the interest of the public health, safety, and welfare of the residents of the City of Post Falls. In 2001, an area beyond 4th Avenue was added with a plan amendment and, in 2004, a third amendment was completed to expand the boundaries to encompass a total of 231 acres, amend goals and objectives and rename the District as the “City Center Urban Renewal District.” The District had a 24-year life and closed in August 2018. The 2018 increment could have been collected through 2019, however the URA Commission elected to close the district early as there were no new projects. Closing the district early provided a surplus rebate of over $400,000 to the taxing entities.
The base value at the time of creation was $14,155,097. The URD taxable amount at the close of the district was $40,350,220. Tax increment received from 1995 through July 2018 was $6.3 million.
The purpose and goals of this District as outlined in the Plan, were to pursue opportunities for improvements that would promote mixed use diversity, thereby achieving rejuvenation and stimulation of a depressed area including the creation of a “City Center” or “Downtown.”
Over the life of the District, the Agency expended over $5.8 million in infrastructure improvements to the district which inluded:
- Road improvements along 4th Avenue
- Revitalization of Spokane Street
- Improvements to the Centennial Trail
- Entrance fountain south of I-90
- Improvements to Frederick and William Streets from 4th Avenue to Railroad
- Infrastructure in the Landings
The “City Center” started to develop in 2007 when City Hall broke ground, followed by the new Chamber of Commerce Building in 2010. Both buildings continue to attract people to the area. An additional parking lot east of the Chamber building, partially funded by the URA will be completed in the Spring of 2019.
There are medical office buildings located on the southwest corner of Spokane and 4th Avenue. Post Falls Brewing Company opened on Spokane Street in 2016, Rogers Burgers built on the northwest corner of Spokane Street and 4th Avenue in 2016, and the Republic Tap House opened its doors in 2017.
The Agency paid for engineering plans along 4th Avenue from William Street to Idaho Street for future use as development in the area increases and funding is available.
The Post Falls Landing and improvments made by the Urban Renewal Agency within that development did not stimulate commercial or retail development in the City Center District. This was a result of a combination of unique factors, including a significant downturn in the economy for several years, the ownership of the property by an out-of-state insurance company, which acquired the property by means of foreclosure, the establishment of unrealistic prices for the property and other factors. With the improvement of the economy and the expansion of commercial and retail development currently occurring, it is hoped that the improvements made to Spokane Street and within the Landing development will provide the stimulus for future infill development of this well located property. For this to occur, however, the pricing of this property must be set at a realistic level to make it competitive with other infill opportunities within the City.
In closing, there was more in the Plan than what was actually accomplished. Simplifying what urban renewal is going to fund in future districts will make it easier when a Plan’s vision changes due to unforeseen circumstances.
Lesson learned: How to structure future districts with the primary focus on public infrastructure improvements that are easily measured and funded.
At the close of a district, the Kootenai County Assessor calculates the current taxable value less the taxable value in 2006. That amount is represented as “new construction” dollars that each taxing entity can include on their L-2 forms. For FY 2019, the City Center District’s “new construction” amount was $21,903,395. The “new construction” roll is calculated using the entities 2018 levy rate. For example the City of Post Falls could take $115,059.19 in new construction (21,390,395 x .00525303 = 115,059.19). The amount taken is rolled into the following year’s budget. Taxing entities can take any or all of the new construction amount along with up to 3% of their highest last three (3) year’s budget as allowed by Idaho State Statute.