NEWPORT – The site for the planned $1 billion Ovation project in Newport has sat vacant for four years and could get more time for the developer to take advantage of a state tax incentive before it has to break ground.
Under a bill filed last week by State Rep. Dennis Keene, D-Wilder, developers of large projects in Kentucky approved for signature tax-increment financing status would have an additional five years to break ground before losing their eligibility for the incentive. This would also extend deadlines for other TIF projects such as the Museum Plaza 62-story skyscraper in Louisville.
The current TIF tax incentive gives a groundbreaking deadline five years after the approval of a project’s TIF status. State and local governments approved the TIF district for Ovation in 2007, meaning the project would have to start by the end of 2012. The bill would extend the deadline to 2017.
“We figured the economy will get rolling by that time,” Keene said. “It is more than enough time for them to ramp it up.”
Keene said pushing the deadline back for the TIF won’t delay the project any further.
“It is going to sit vacant right now just because of the economy,” Keene said. “Once the economy ramps up, Corporex wants to get the project going. We just don’t know how long this economy will drag on.”
Tax-increment financing allows developers to pour state and local tax revenue generated by the development back into the development site for improvements to the public infrastructure. For Ovation, this could mean $200 million.