Project Update Archive

Better City Superior: Presentation Summary - October 21, 2015

How do we attract employers with high wage jobs and retain their workforce to live in the community?

Focused large-­‐scale redevelopment changes market dynamics by enhancing quality of life, capturing the regional market, improving local business profitability, catalyzing additional investment, and building momentum as a community of choice. Businesses and their workforce seek progressive, improving downtowns.

What are the components of the $125 million proposed large-­‐scale redevelopment?

  • 150-­‐room Hotel, 20,000 square foot Convention Center & 50,000 square foot Indoor Waterpark -­‐ $77 million
  • Field House -­‐  $14 million
  • Movie Theater -­‐ $7 million
  • Corporate Campus -­‐  $25 million

Why isn’t the private sector developing these projects on its own?

Although developers have expressed a high level of interest in these projects, low rents and poor market conditions do not justify the capital investment in these projects if the private sector has to bear all of the cost. That is, the private sector cannot earn market rate returns on their investment in downtown Superior, which is why investment is not occurring. Multiple large projects make these investments less risky for investors because of how those projects will positively change the existing market.

How then can the projects be funded?

By reducing the amount of investment required by the private sector, market rate returns can be achieved. This is accomplished through an exposition district and public-­‐private partnership (PPP).

An Exposition District is a separate governmental entity established by a sponsoring municipality that has the authority to impose and collect taxes and use the proceeds to do large-­‐scale development. Ambiguous legislation has limited the ability of smaller communities to use this economic development tool.

A PPP is a common economic development tool used by communities in Wisconsin and across the country to reduce the required private sector investment in a project. Funding for a PPP is secured by contributing those incremental tax revenues generated by a project to fund capital costs or ongoing cash flow.

What are the next steps?

Better City Superior is working on State legislation that will allow smaller communities to establish an exposition district to facilitate large-­‐scale development tailored to a community’s unique economic opportunities.