Economic Incentives Can Spur Redevelopment

Mark Barnebey

Mark P. Barnebey, Esq., Board Certified in City, County & Local Government Law, The Florida Bar

Economic incentives are available from local governments in various forms to help spur development and redevelopment throughout the Gulf Coast area.   Such incentives have played key roles in a variety of projects including the extensive renovation of the historic Manatee River Hotel (now a Hampton Inn) in downtown Bradenton and the creation of the IT Works! Corporate headquarters in the old Riverside Plaza building in Palmetto.  Available incentives differ from one governmental jurisdiction to another and can include several different sets of financial benefits.   Ad valorem tax abatement, facade grants, construction reimbursement, and other financial grants are among the types of incentives that may be available in some jurisdictions.  Tax credits may also be available for historic and designated brownfield properties.

Although available in Sarasota County for some time, the voters of Manatee County approved a referendum which allowed ad valorem tax exemption which could be used to spur the relocation of businesses to Manatee County or encourage the expansion of existing business already located within the County.    Earlier this year, the County Commission examined when and how this type of incentives should be used and adopted Resolution R-14-084, setting forth guidelines for granting of an ad valorem tax incentive to a business.  The factors examined generally include:

  1. The number of new full-time positions created in Manatee County as a result of relocating or expanding in Manatee County;
  2. The average wage of the new employees located in the County;
  3. The total amount of capital investment;
  4. The commitment to local procurement;
  5. The net positive contribution to the local economy (return on investment); and
  6. Any other economic related characteristic that provides sustainability of economic development within unincorporated areas of Manatee County.

Each project is evaluated on a case by case basis and the County can exempt a development from the payment of all County ad valorem taxes for a period of up to 10 years depending on the evaluation of the factors listed above.

Attorneys of Blalock Walters have been involved in a number of projects which have involved economic incentives as attorney for either the developer or the local government and are happy to assist in developing a successful project with you.

Blalock Walters is a member of Economic Development Corporations for both Manatee and Sarasota Counties.  Mark Barnebey is Chair-Elect for the Bradenton Area Economic Development Corporation and Jonathan Fleece is the Chair-Elect of the Manatee Chamber of Commerce.

Mark Barnebey is a principal in the firm’s Land Use Law, Local Government Law, and Real Estate Law service groups and can be reached at mbarnebey@blalockwalters.com.