Q: What is Middleford Commons?
A: Middleford Commons is a proposed public/private partnership development in the downtown urban renewal area that is planned to include corporate headquarters facilities, residential, retail and commercial, park blocks, and additional downtown parking.
Q: How will the City benefit from participating in this project?
A: The city will receive three blocks of new City parks that Lithia will develop; a minimum of 200 additional public parking spaces; increased tax revenues; Lithia has committed resources for the creation of a park in the Liberty Park neighborhood; and the Middleford Commons project will be the pilot for revitalization of a significant part of downtown.
Q: What is the timeline for Middleford Commons?
A: Middleford Commons is currently in the planning stage. The current timeline is to have the Disposition and Development Agreement (DDA) before the Medford Urban Renewal Agency Board (MURA) on September 6, 2006 and the City Council on September 7, 2006. If the DDA is approved, MURA will begin property acquisitions. Lithia will construct car lots on Highway 62 and move some of their dealerships to that location. Lithia plans to complete their corporate headquarters by January 2009 and expect to complete the parking facility to coincide with the opening of their headquarters.
Q: What is the City’s financial participation in the Middleford Commons project? How much taxpayer money is being spent?
A: MURA’s participation will be $14.1 million funded with tax increment financing. (See next question for explanation of tax increment financing.) MURA is an agency of the City of Medford.
Q. What is “Tax Increment Financing” and how does it work?
A. Tax increment financing is a method of identifying and collecting property tax revenue that is associated with increased taxable value of property in an urban renewal district. The City adopted an urban renewal plan calling for the use of tax increment financing.
Upon adoption of the urban renewal plan, the county assessor calculated the total assessed property value within the urban renewal district as of the last tax roll, then “froze” that value. Assessed property value within the urban renewal district that is an increase over that frozen base is referred to as “incremental” assessed value. The assessor uses that incremental tax value to calculate property tax rates in the urban renewal district. The maximum amount of annual incremental revenue received by an urban renewal district is the incremental assessed value multiplied by that property tax rate.
Q: How will MURA’s participation be spent?
A: Anticipated expenditures include:
Property acquisition $2.50 million
Park blocks 2.15 million
Infrastructure (sidewalks & lighting) 1.85 million
Existing Parking Facility #1 Remodel .30 million
New Public Parking Facility 7.30 million
TOTAL: $14.10 million
Q: What current obligations will be deleted when $14.1 million is transferred to the Middleford Commons project?
A: No contractual obligations have been deleted. There are some programs that will be transferred to the City or MURA who will seek alternative funding to continue the program. Those programs are:
$450k Façade Grant Program - seek alternative funding
$900k Merchant Alley Upgrade - seek alternative funding
$180k Liberty Park Neighborhood Homeowner Repair Loan Program -
- City seeking alternative funding such as Community Development
Block Grant funding
$200k Liberty Park Neighborhood Sidewalks - City of Medford Sidewalk
$500k Liberty Park Neighborhood Park - Lithia
South Interchange Commitment see next question
(assumed by City and paid by fees charged for development)
Q: How will the City fund the remaining obligation for the South Interchange?
A: The city will fund the remaining obligations as follows:
Remaining obligation for South Interchange $4.250 million
Less SDC’s generated by the Middleford 1.00 million
Less Street Fund contribution 1.415 million
Less SDC surcharge extension .385 million
Less MURA assistance 1.450 million
TOTAL: $ 0
Q. When will taxing districts within the urban renewal boundaries begin receiving the tax increment revenues generated by MURA?
A. It is projected that the taxing districts will begin to receive tax increments revenues no later than 2016. However, this may occur sooner with accelerated development.
Q. Why was MURA extended to the year 2025?
A. The extension to 2025 allows MURA time to repay bonds that are necessary to collect all the funds Medford’s City Center Revitalization Plan allows the Agency to collect.
Q: When will the public be able to participate in the process?
A: Since the beginning of 2006, 21 public meetings have been held regarding Middleford Commons – four with the City of Medford, 13 with Medford Urban Renewal Agency, two joint study sessions (with MURA Board and City Council), and two open houses. The next public meetings are the MURA Board meeting scheduled for September 6, 2006 and the Medford City Council meeting on September 7, 2006. If the DDA is approved by the City Council on September 7, 2006, the public will be able to give input, throughout the development process, at any public meeting held by the City of Medford or the Medford Urban Renewal Agency.