PCDI Puts Big R Warehouse on Local Market

The Big R warehouse, donated to Prowers County Development Incorporated by the company last year, will be offered first through local real estate listings. The 2.8 acre property on Washington Street in Lamar will be marketed as a business incentive, with hopes of selling it to a ‘jobs-attached’ business developer or corporation. Board member Gene Millbrand stated during the April 26 board meeting, that even if PCDI receives the purchase price for the property, there’s no real gain to the county unless the buyer plans to develop a business that will hire local employees. The industrial zoned land totals 124,780 square feet and contains nine buildings for heated and cold storage, offices, shop area and garages. PCDI vice-president Mike Bryant said local realtors should have the first opportunity for selling the property, but after a period, PCDI will broaden the scope of marketing to outlying interests, including Craigslist and other advertising venues. Big R donated the land to PCDI when the company moved its corporate staff and offices to Pueblo last year.

Additional discussion on the Washington Street property focused on its potential annexation into the Urban Redevelopment District. The Lamar Redevelopment Board has considered developing new boundaries for the district, which would include the Big R property. PCDI executive director, Lisa Nolder, said she’s had discussions with Lamar city administrator Ron Stock on the proposal. She said Stock did not make a recommendation either way, but annexation would be a source into the Urban Renewal District to provide incentives in light of the city’s budget. Nolder said if PCDI requested annexation for the property after the new boundaries had been drawn, the $10,000 fee to PCDI probably would not be reduced. Millbrand, speaking for the county commissioners, said he and the other two commissioners advised not to pursue the annexation. He said that action would eliminate the county from having any potential, possibility of having incentives to offer for economic development. Millbrand explained, “We feel our incentives, through sales tax and real property tax are more beneficial to a potential business than the small amount of tax generated to the city to be spread throughout the Urban Redevelopment District.” He continued, “But that could change if the Authority gets bond money that would allow them to do more than property tax. It’s a Catch-22 because the property tax of the city captures from the county is what they would use to pay the bond money with.” Millbrand said the county is also reluctant for the property annexation as there is still no intergovernmental agreement with the city since the Redevelopment District was begun two years ago. Board members also wondered if the tax baseline of the Big R property would start at zero, or revert to the last tax assessment. That would have a bearing on what the TIF, Tax Increment Funding would be set at, either 100% of the new assessment would go into the District, or would be based on the last assessment. The board said they would make plans to contact City deputy administrator, Bill Pfeilsticker for a future meeting to discuss options.

The PCDI board will invite Don McBee of the Prowers Conservation District to discuss a request for funds to complete a two-year study to determine seepage loss from surface irrigation ponds in the lower Arkansas Valley. The board also set a June date for completion of the new website for PCDI.


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