Tuscaloosa council considers incentives plan for new development - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Tuscaloosa council considers incentives plan for new development

A rendering of the Shoppes at Legacy Park. Source: City of Tuscaloosa A rendering of the Shoppes at Legacy Park. Source: City of Tuscaloosa
TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) -

The Tuscaloosa City Council met Friday afternoon to review an incentives plan for the developer of the Shoppes at Legacy Park.

Alumni Development has plans to construct the shopping center where much of the Cedar Crest neighborhood stood before it was destroyed on April 27, 2011. Developers say they have plans to bring a Bed Bath & Beyond, Cost Plus World Market and four unnamed big box retailers to the center.

Earlier this month, Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox introduced an incentives plan for this development to the city's finance committee. Maddox's plan includes sales tax revenue sharing between the City and the developer, as well as property tax rebates.

The Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama supports Alumni Development in its request for incentives. Chamber President and CEO Jim Page says the current economy has resulted in developers demanding these type of incentives.

"It really changed the way retailers look at their expansion modes," Page said. "And so, you have a lot of communities around the country, much like you do with industrial prospects, that are all competing for the same entities. But there's only a certain amount of growth opportunities for each one of these."

Page says he also understands concerns existing businesses who did not receive these incentives may have. But, he believes they would still benefit from incentives granted to the Shoppes at Legacy Park.

"If you keep shoppers in this community, because they don't have to leave to see certain retailers, then that will help existing retailers as well. You can go to other communities that have done these type of incentives, and it's proven. Overall sales tax receipts for everyone involved go up."

The Tuscaloosa City Council finance committee met Friday to discuss the incentives plan independently and with the full council.

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