Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2013, 6:42 pm
BHC housing developer looking at EM for site
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By Anthony Watt, firstname.lastname@example.org
Many steps will be required to change the location of proposed housing for Black Hawk College's Quad-Cities campus.
Black Hawk is looking at a 114-bed three-story student apartment complex aimed at student athletes, international students and out-of-district commuter students.
The original location was west of Building 3, below the parking lot south of 34th Avenue and north of the baseball diamond and college track.
Because the site is in Moline, Bluffstone LLC, the private company working on the project with Black Hawk, asked the city for tax rebates to help it get financing for the project.
Tuesday, the city council approved rebates, but not to the level Bluffstone says it needs. So the company is looking for an alternative site on campus that is within East Moline's borders.
Black Hawk president Thomas Baynum said a proposed alternative site is by the school's Parking Lot 4."We are looking at how we could accommodate that (Bluffstone's) request," he said.
Black Hawk staffers are putting together a proposal for the college board to review, Mr. Baynum said.
Any move would have to be approved by the board, and the land at the new location transferred by Black Hawk to the Quad-Cities campus foundation.State law prohibits a community college from owning or operating student housing. The contract would be between the foundation and Bluffstone.
Lot 4 is north of the main campus, and separated from it by 34th Avenue, in East Moline city limits. It's also near a ravine that runs through the campus, with belts of woodland around it, and several neighborhoods bordering the woodlands.
The Lot 4 location was among several viewed as possible sites before the area near Building 3 was chosen.
Bluffstone has said it must have the rebate for the project to move forward, otherwise the housing would not be cost-effective to students, Mr. Baynum said, adding that there's no alternative way to compensate for the tax rebate if it's not offered.
East Moline Mayor John Thodos said he would welcome the complex."I'm supportive. I see this as a benefit to our community college. I see this a a benefit to our municipality."
Mayor Thodos said the property, as part of the college, is not taxable by the city while the land is undeveloped. The city only gets revenue from the site if it's developed, and it could be worth offering tax rebates in exchange for long-term tax revenue from the complex, he said.
The rebate would not involve a tax-increment financing district, because the site does not fit any TIF criteria, such as being a brownfield, a site in decay or that is obsolete, Mayor Thodos said.
But there are several things Bluffstone will have to go through with the city and related taxing bodies, he said.
The project would have to be approved by the planning and zoning commission and city, and the tax rebate will need council approval. Other taxing bodies -- the local school districts, for instance -- also would have to be on board with the rebate.