Less than a year after presenting a design proposal to renovate an empty warehouse into their new national headquarters in the Crossroads Art District of Kansas City, local firm BNIM has withdrawn its plans. After a losing battle over tax incentives, the firm and the building’s owner have stated that without the financial support of the city, the project is not economically viable. The proposal by BNIM, the 2011 AIA National Architecture Firm Award winners, was envisioned as a “living” building that would efficiently use water and produce as much energy as it used. As planned, the building would achieve a higher standard than LEED Platinum, something that BNIM has achieved one other time in a built project in New York State. To achieve this level of sustainability, the project was planned to utilize numerous novel technologies and techniques, including a greenhouse to help with water management and a solar array used for energy, passive water heating and cooling, and shade. Also serving as a space for professional and academic education the firm described the project as “a global laboratory for quality sustainable design.” The firm would have used the top two floors of the 43,000 square foot building while the bottom floor was slated for retail, commercial, and office space. With the support of the mayor and city council, the $13.2 million project was hoping to utilize $5.2 million from the cities Tax Incentive Finance Committee (TIF). A hotbed issue in many cities, social justice activists and concerned Kansas City School District parents opposed the incentives going to the project, stating that too much money would be diverted from public schools. Understanding the concerns of residents, BNIM and the city attempted to negotiate and reformulate the proposal and incentive package to accommodate the resistance. The decision to provide the TIF money was to be voted on as a ballot initiative. By gathering petition signatures, opponents were able to stop the measure from even being added to the ballot, effectively killing the possibility of the money being released. BNIM has stated that its is still committed to staying in Kansas City, and will now be looking for a new office space as current projects require growth in the coming year.
Posts tagged with "tif":
The open-data site Chicago Cityscape has mapped hundreds of construction projects receiving public support through the city's increasingly controversial tax-increment financing (TIF) system. (Full disclosure: Chicago Cityscape is run by Steven Vance, who contributes to AN) A common economic development tool for municipal governments, TIF can incentivize construction projects by offsetting a developer's property taxes. But as numerous in-depth reports from the Chicago Reader have made clear, in Chicago the program has historically been used more like a slush fund for the mayor's office, with money often landing in the coffers of downtown projects instead of the economically depressed areas where it's supposed to spur job growth. In 2011 Mayor Rahm Emanuel campaigned in part on improving government transparency, vowing less than one week into his first term to return TIF “to its roots.” Controversial TIF awards continue to emerge, however, accumulating predominantly in the city's central business district as the mayor gears up for his second term. Chicago Cityscape's map is accompanied by a spreadsheet of public city data sortable by project name, approval date, TIF assistance amount, total project cost, ward, and community area. In all there are 379 entries displayed, but that excludes projects listed by the city in another data set—the City of Chicago TIF projects portal shows TIF projects through other agencies, such as the Chicago Department of Transportation.