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DUNHAM'S FINANCES: Council approves tax-break request

January 23, 2013

COLUMBIA CITY — With the big announcement of the acquisition of the old Scott’s building Tuesday, the normally scheduled meeting of the Columbia City Common Council had an economic development flavor to it, as a real estate company was granted a requested tax abatement.

Kerr Real Estate LLC, based out of Michigan, acquired the old Scott’s building. The company plans to have Dunham’s Sports anchor a shopping center at the location. The realty company was before the council Tuesday requesting a tax abatement. The plan would be a graduated abatement on improvements that Kerr plans for the property, which are estimated at $1.5 million.

Before approving the abatement unanimously, the council discussed the benefits. The question was proposed as to what would happen if the stores in the center all left town in three years, would the city still benefit?

Mayor Ryan Daniel explained that the money saved from the abatement would be invested into the property. Thus, in a worst-case scenario, the city would still have a building with improvements on it.

Improvements to the building are estimated at $1.5 million. That investment to the local economy does not include the purchase price for the property.

Jeffrey A. Kerr, president of Kerr Reality, added that he hoped to close in March and that the Dunham’s store could be completed by May or June if everything goes well. He also optimistcally forecasted 2014 as the time when the rest of the reality space would be used. Kerr Real Estate also estimates the project will create up to 60 new jobs and involve more than $4.5 million in developer and tenant investments.

In other business the council had the second reading of its new parking ordinance. An amendment to the sewer service ordinance was tabled until the next meeting. The council also heard from the heads of the city’s departments. The next meeting of the Columbia City Common Council will be on Tuesday, Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

For a more in-depth look at this story, see the Jan. 23 issue of The Post and Mail. Don't have a subscription? Call (260) 244-5153 or subscribe to our e-edition. For breaking news, sports updates and additional coverage, bookmark the homepage and find us on facebook.

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