The largest retail development to hit Butler County received its first nod Friday when trustees promised public financing for infrastructure to accommodate the $300 million project.
Now it’s up to county commissioners to seal their end of the deal on Monday.
Township trustees approved a memorandum of understanding between the township, the county and Libertytown LLC, promising $5 million in tax increment financing to help fund $56 million in road improvements and a parking garage for the proposed project at Liberty Way and Interstate 75.
Developer Steiner + Associates also had asked county commissioners for $55 million toward infrastructure improvements for the “life style” retail center which would be similar to Easton Town Center in Columbus and The Greene in Beavercreek.
But, it appears Steiner will only get $30 million from the county when commissioners cast their vote at Monday’s regular session.
Commissioner Chuck Furmon said Friday that the county has proposed contributing $20 million in existing funds from a Tax Increment Financing District, with another $10 million — possibly in $5 million increments — as Steiner reaches certain benchmarks in the project.
The money would back bonds that would be sold to pay for infrastructure.
“We want them to reach what they say they are going to do before we give the other $10 (million),” Furmon said.
Township trustees set several conditions on Steiner, including a prohibition on raiding other successful retail projects in Butler County such as Bridgewater Falls in Fairfield Township to fill Liberty Town Square.
Trustee Christine Matacic said Friday’s action was a preliminary step in getting Liberty Town Square off the ground.
Development and financing agreements still have to be finalized, she said.
“This is not a done deal, but we are cautiously optimistic that all three parties can move forward together,” she said.
The first phase of the project, worth $177 million on 60 acres, is expected to open around May 2014 with two department stores, specialty retail shops, a mix of restaurants, 100,000 square feet of class A office space and about 150 high-end apartments. Groundbreaking is expected by November.
Improvements to Cincinnati-Dayton Road at the Ohio 129 interchange, partly to accommodate the increase in traffic from Liberty Town Square, already are being planned.
Yaromir Steiner, who founded the Columbus-based development company, has said construction of Liberty Town Square will add 3,200 jobs during construction and another 4,600 permanent jobs for people who work there when shops open.
The much-touted development was abruptly put on hold in 2008 when the economy tanked.
Since then, it has been scaled back in size and value. Steiner initially proposed the project at $500 million. When completed, Liberty Town Square will sit on 100 acres and include up to 2.5 million square feet of commercial space.
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