Florida Boulevard tax district project passes metro board

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Mayor Sharon Weston Broome’s administration will ask Metropolitan Council on Wednesday to approve a cooperation agreement with a new tax district created to support redevelopment and economic activity along Florida Boulevard.

The Cortana Corridor Economic Development District, as the new entity is called, will be funded through tax increase funding.

All sales tax revenue generated in the district above the current baseline – nearly $ 5 million per year, under proposed legislation – will go to the district.

Due to the economic activity associated with the redevelopment of the former Cortana Mall site at the intersection of Florida Boulevard and Airline Highway into an Amazon distribution center, sales tax revenue is expected to increase in the coming months. although the legislation does not include any projection. how much the new district could harvest on an annual basis.

The neighborhood will stretch along both sides of Florida Boulevard from Foster Drive to the eastern edge of the Amazon Project site and will also extend north along Lobdell Boulevard to South Choctaw Drive to the limit is from Amazon project site.

Build Baton Rouge created the Cortana Corridor EDD, originally called Florida Boulevard EDD, at its July board meeting.

As an independent political subdivision created by the state over a decade ago, the agency is able to create tax districts, which it can then manage.

Under the terms of the proposed agreement, Build Baton Rouge will manage the district and will receive the equivalent of 5% per year of the revenue generated by the district for its administrative services.

Build Baton Rouge President and CEO Chris Tyson said the main focus at this point is to come up with a comprehensive plan for the area.

“We saw how a comprehensive plan helped us in the redevelopment of other areas,” he says. “When we think about how to leverage philanthropy and impact investing, none of this happens without a serious plan. “
Tyson was unable to estimate how much the district could generate or how much Build Baton Rouge expects to be paid for its services.

The City of Baton Rouge will also receive 1% of the revenue generated by the District for the administration of sales tax collection.

While much of the activity in the corridor, at least in the short term, will relate to the construction of Amazon’s new facility, sales of all building materials are exempt for five years, under the terms of the ‘OK.

Tyson estimates that there will be a lot of other taxable activity generated by the work on the facility as well as increased activity at Baton Rouge General’s Mid City campus and the MovEBR projects.

“There’s a lot of activity and attention on Florida Boulevard right now,” he says. “The time had come. “

Although the EDD boundaries of the Cortana Corridor overlap to some extent with those of the North Baton Rouge Economic Development District, Tyson says he sees no conflict.

“They are totally separate,” he says. “I believe they are funded by a hotel-motel tax in this area.”

The council meets to consider the EDD deal and other items on Wednesday at 4 p.m. at City Hall.


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