KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Knox County Commission approved Monday the authorization of the use of tax increment financing (TIF) for the redevelopment of the former Baptist Hospital.
This means the developer will be able to use part of the property taxes from the site to pay off the $22 million project over 30 years.
The timeline was a point of concern for several commissioners before coming to a vote.
“It’s a long time and I just have a little heart burn with a 30-year TIF,” Commissioner Jeff Ownby said.
A TIF is typically 15 years, but Knox County Finance Director Chris Caldwell told the commission that it’s more likely the TIF will last 21 to 25 years, not the full 30.
Commission Chairman Brad Anders said the TIF is a better option than a loan for the county.
“The thing that people usually mistake with a TIF is that we’re giving away money, and we’re really allowing the tax increase that would come from the new development to go toward paying off part of the public improvements,” Anders said.
The $22 million TIF would help transform the former Baptist Hospital site along South Knoxville’s water front.
The development project calls for luxury apartments, student housing, a hotel and restaurants.
“It’s such a prime location,” Commissioner Ed Shouse said. “It took sort of a unique concept: a specialized developer would come in, redevelop it and put it back on the tax rolls. It’s what we’re hoping. It’s not off the ground yet.”
Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett expressed hesitation last week because of the 30-year obligation but told 6 News Monday he supports the plan, knowing it’s not expected to last the full 30 years.