Grand Island’s Community Redevelopment Authority gave unanimous approval Wednesday to extending $4.5 million of tax-increment financing to Talon Apartments Inc.

The corporation is proposing to build 288 apartments in eight, three-story buildings at the northeast corner of Highway 34 and South Locust Street.

“We do need the housing; it helps with that goal,” said CRA member Glen Murray, who moved to advance the project to the Regional Planning Commission and notify the city council of the project.

CRA Director Chad Nabity said the nearest large apartment complexes in the city are all approaching 40 to 45 years old. This would create a whole new housing offering in southeast Grand Island, he said.

“It could be a catalyst for Grand Island,” said CRA Chairman Tom Gdowski.

But Gdowski wanted to know more about the project — specifically who the owners are.

Grand Island attorney Ron Depue said the owners are all local, but the exact ownership structure hasn’t been finalized yet, so he declined to name the investors.

Following the CRA meeting, Depue said he expected the ownership structure to be finalized and announced by the June 1 Regional Planning Commission, when the project will be reviewed for compatibility with Grand Island’s comprehensive land use plan. The Grand Island City Council is to review the project during a June 28 meeting.

Grand Island real estate agent Mark Otto, who is serving as project developer, filed the TIF application for $4.7 million, however that number was updated Wednesday to $4.5 million because the project will be built over four phases.

“It takes all four phases to make this profitable,” Otto said.

Grand Island accountant Bruce Shreiner said the owners are taking on substantial risk because the infrastructure costs in the first phase are very high. In fact, the project is estimated to cost $26.6 million to build, but will only be valued at $19.5 million at the time of completion.

Schreiner said the costs for water and sewer line extensions to this property are so costly, the project would not be feasible to build if not for tax-increment financing.

In other action Wednesday, the CRA offered to front $1,000 and provide a no-interest $9,000 loan for the demolition of a substandard house at 211 N. Eddy. The house was purchased by Don and Jan Placke because they own the adjacent property. The house sustained damage when vagrants got in and caused an explosion and fire. The house is now uninhabitable.

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