The Franklin County Industrial Development Authority on Wednesday approved $10.2 million in revenue bonds for the developer of a Washington shopping center.
Phoenix Center II developer Joe Vernaci asked the board to approve the bonds to reimburse him for public infrastructure improvements, such as roads and sewer, that he has already made to the shopping center’s site off Highway 100.
The county is not taking on any risk through the bonds, said Warren Bauche, president of the Franklin County IDA. The IDA is only a pass-through group to issue the tax-exempt revenue bonds, Bauche noted.
County Counselor Mark Vincent said the bonds will be paid off with sales tax revenue generated at the site.
The approval of the bonds comes as Vernaci gets ready to embark on a 90,000-square-foot expansion of the shopping center, which currently includes Target, Kohl’s and other retailers.
The expansion, which will be south of Kohl’s, will add six new stores, although Vernaci would not release the names of the retailers. But he said he hopes he can publicly identify them by the first of the year.
Leases are currently under negotiation for 82,000 of the 90,000 square feet, Vernaci added.
The new stores will go under construction in early February and should be done by late July. But it could be late September before all of the new stores are open.
“It’s going to be a great addition to the center and the community as a whole,” Vernaci said.
He noted that development of the center slowed when the economic downturn hit, but now conditions are improving.
Through November, sales tax revenue in the shopping center is up 6.9 percent over the same time period last year, he said.
The new expansion should create about 90 more jobs.
Even though the shopping center is in the city limits, the county’s IDA approved the bonds. That’s because the city’s IDA deals with industrial projects.
Washington’s City Council in September approved a resolution allowing the county’s IDA to issue the bonds.