Financing for Hamilton Crossings needs to be resolved soon, developer says

Published: Nov 07 2013 04:58:07 PM EST   Updated On: Nov 07 2013 06:25:26 PM EST
Proposed Hamilton Crossings shopping center
LOWER MACUNGIE TWP., Pa. -

Could it be a second wind for the proposed Hamilton Crossings development in Lehigh County?

This summer, developers asked for a tax incremental financing designation to pay $7 million of the $140 million dollar price tag.

That would mean a portion of the property taxes from the shopping center in Lower Macungie Township would be waived for 20 years.

The caveat is that Lower Macungie Township, the East Penn School District and Lehigh County all have to agree to the TIF, but the county commissioners have said no.

Even so, developers continue to plan the project, which would include a Costco, a Target and a Whole Foods.

"We have been talking to some county commissioners over the last couple of months with the hope that some of the information they were requesting would allow then to re-evaluate the TIF," said one of the developers, Jeremy Fogel, executive vice president of the Goldenberg Group.

After the no vote, county Commissioner Brad Osborne said he was asked by the developers to take a second look at the TIF.

Osborne said he didn't like the fact that Lower Macungie wasn't participating financially because it doesn't currently have property taxes, so the second look didn't change his mind.

Commissioner Michael Schware also voted no because he said it would give the development an unfair advantage, but he said there is a scenario in which he would vote yes.

"I could support it if it didn't involve any county tax dollars, if the school district and the township could come up with an amount that is satisfactory to the developer," said Schware.

Fogel said the financing issue needs to be resolved soon.

"We have gotten to the point in the project where the successes we are having elsewhere in terms of leasing and the design is starting to become more tenuous," said Fogel.

Fogel wouldn't say which county commissioners he is talking with, and most of the commissioners were unavailable for comment.