CRA positively impacts property values in the Downtown & Greater Frenchtown/Southside districts, while offering benefits for the entire community
A morning spent shopping for fresh produce at the Frenchtown Farmers Market. Taking a stroll with friends along a vibrant Gaines Street. Appreciating the new look of a business near downtown. These experiences, which are enjoyed by thousands of Tallahassee residents, are just a few examples of what City Commissioners envisioned when they established the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA).
CRAs were created by the State of Florida to encourage development in blighted, undervalued urban areas. While our local CRA's work takes place in the Downtown and Greater Frenchtown/Southside districts, the entire community benefits when transformations occur in these areas.
Annual assessment of property values pre and post development indicates that the increase in property value generated by CRA supported projects is responsible for approximately 55.9 percent of the total increase in property values within the Downtown Redevelopment Area between 2004 and 2016. The Greater Frenchtown/Southside Redevelopment Area has a similar track record, with 30.8 percent of the total increase in property values between 2000 and 2016 being attributed to CRA supported projects.
CRA incentives are based on the funding gap of the project and the projected return on investment and potential community benefits. CRA projects have also generated more than $300 million in private investment from development which helps to stimulate our local economy.
By providing financial support for commercial and mixed-use development, neighborhood enhancement, infrastructure and special events, the CRA helps to breathe life into projects designed to build areas up economically. The majority of CRA projects support a variety of local businesses, both large and small. For instance, the agency has funded portions of large, mixed-use developments while also helping to fund numerous façade improvements for small local businesses.
The funds used by the CRA are generated within each district via a tool called Tax Increment Financing or TIF. When an undervalued property within the CRA is developed, the property value goes up. The resulting increase in property value, called the "tax increment," is then used by the CRA to incentivize that project and other projects in the area. This reinvestment model allows each district to grow its available dollars, without relying on funds from the City's or County's general funds. Essentially, large projects pay their own way, with funds they have generated with new development. A financial audit of the CRA is conducted each year by the City of Tallahassee and is also included in the CRA's annual report, which is available online at Talgov.com/CRA.
A citizen's advisory committee reviews proposed projects to ensure they are consistent with the agency's mission and the community's needs and priorities. Final decisions on how CRA funds are spent are the responsibility of the CRA Board, which is comprised of the Tallahassee City Commission and four Leon County Commissioners. Decisions are made based on how projects meet the goals of the CRA Plan and consideration on how they will enhance the quality of life enjoyed by Tallahassee residents.
The CRA model is an especially successful redevelopment tool because it uses a combination of public and private resources to enhance the quality of life enjoyed by our entire community. From small business façade enhancements to the world-class Cascades Park, the CRA has without a doubt played a key role in generating economic vitality in the wonderful place that we choose to call home.
Below is information that demonstrates the amount of private investment supported by CRA projects in both redevelopment districts and the impact these CRA projects have on property values within the districts.
Supporting Information (PDF)