Galena Opportunity Fund

This is a rendering of a new community center proposed for downtown Meridian by Galena Opportunity Fund.

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MERIDIAN — The Meridian City Council on Tuesday hosted a public hearing to consider plans for a new urban renewal district downtown. The council will host a final hearing and will likely take action on ordinances approving the plans next week.

The ordinances would provide city approval on plans to de-annex 16 acres from a current urban renewal district and create a new one, called Union District. The Meridian Development Corporation (MDC) has for several months developed plans for the new district.

“It’s a great project and certainly meets the intent of urban renewal redevelopment,” said Council Vice President Brad Hoaglun at the Tuesday hearing.

The proposed district spans about two city blocks, where planned development includes a new community center and a mixed-use development with apartments. Both projects are led by the Galena Opportunity Fund, a Boise-based developer.

MDC estimates the planned projects within the Union District will generate $16.3 million in tax increment revenue — the property tax revenue from increased market value — over the Union District’s 20-year life span.

The Union District boundaries would be Main and Third streets to the east and west, the railroad tracks to the south and Idaho Avenue to the north. The area includes 11 publicly owned and four privately owned properties.

The 16 acres comprising the Union District already fall within the more than 600-acre Downtown District, an urban renewal district scheduled to sunset in six years. With just six years remaining before the Downtown District sunsets, not enough tax increment financing from planned projects will be generated to fund infrastructure improvements downtown, officials say.

“The sole purpose will then be to channel the potential revenues into needed infrastructure and public improvements that the city is looking to accomplish,” said Cameron Arial, community development director, on Tuesday.

Bill Truax, president of the Galena Opportunity Fund, was the only person to testify at the Tuesday hearing. He assured council members that financing for infrastructure improvements within the Union District will be fronted by the developer. Galena will be reimbursed through increased tax revenues that Galena projects are expected to create.

The tax increment financing is primarily going to rely on the Union 93 project, Truax said, a mixed-use development that includes hundreds of apartments and retail space, located on the southeast corner of Main Street and Broadway Avenue. Truax was optimistic about Union 93’s progress.

“We are currently working on design, development documents to bring to the city,” he said.

The final hearing on the ordinances will be at 6 p.m. June 9. The virtual meeting can be accessed at meridiancity.org.

Ryan Suppe is the Meridian reporter for the Idaho Press. Contact him at 208-465-8119. Follow him on Twitter @salsuppe.

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