University of Redlands ‘village’ needs $80m for roads, storm sewers and more – Redlands Daily Facts
It could cost more than $80 million to build the public infrastructure needed for the University of Redlands’ proposed mixed-use development south of campus, so the city and institution are working together to explore sources of funding.
Redlands City Council on Tuesday, April 19 unanimously agreed to work with the university on solutions such as grant funding and a redevelopment-style tool that uses future property taxes from the site to pay for work .
University Village is proposed for 30 acres of mostly vacant land owned by the university north of Highway 10 and east of University Street. Part of the project would extend east of Grove Street.
Kevin Dyerly, the university’s chief financial officer, told the board on Tuesday that the institution envisions an urban village with retail, restaurants, a market, offices, a boutique hotel, park, apartments and row houses. The heights of the buildings would go up to four stories.
“It is imperative that the university generate a stable source of non-tuition revenue, which will come from ground lease revenue,” Dyerly said, adding that the project was “essential to our longevity and prosperity.”
According to Dylerly, the development:
- Provide a space for the public to interact more naturally with the campus.
- Attract faculty and staff with affordable housing.
- Offer more accommodation alternatives close to campus.
- Provide small business and employment opportunities.
- Reinforce the brand of the university as an institution committed to sustainability and smart growth.
Public funding is needed to:
- Water and wastewater infrastructure.
- 11 additional or improved public streets, cycle paths and sidewalks.
- Flood mitigation for the portion of the project in a 100-year-old floodplain.
- Restore historic Zanja to manage storm runoff.
- An improved Orange Blossom Trail and public park.
The project “needs a tremendous amount of infrastructure…and with today’s economy, the project will never work without public investment and creative funding to pay for public infrastructure,” Dyerly told the advice.
The project, he said, will provide flood control upgrades that will reduce downtown flooding, move overhead power lines underground, improve property values and more.
Joe Dieguez of Kosmont Companies, a consultant for the university, estimated that the project would result in $346 million in construction wages for the region, $19 million in permanent annual wages, $597 million in economic output from the construction and $36 million per year of other economic output. .
Taxable improvements are proposed to include 1,050 residential units, 70 hotel rooms, 55,000 square feet or commercial/retail/restaurant space and 45,000 square feet of office space.
How would the funding work?
As proposed, a portion of property tax revenue from the project site would be set aside, for perhaps 50 years, in a special account for infrastructure construction, Dieguez told the council.
Under state law, these funding districts are authorized to fund affordable housing and infrastructure such as flood control, public transit, parks, small businesses and climate change response.
Dieguez said other local governments are using these districts because they see the investment leading to net tax revenue, job creation, housing production and more. Having such a district, he said, could also earn project points with those giving grants.
Currently, there are 16 fully formed such districts in California; La Verne has the closest fully formed district. Rancho Cucamonga is well advanced in its formation process. Fontana, Yucaipa and the unincorporated county of San Bernardino are also evaluating the creation of districts.
Dieguez said once the money starts piling up, the district could issue bonds to pay for more work.
If the city and county of San Bernardino contributed 50% of their property taxes to the site, perhaps $33.5 million could be raised, Dieguez estimated. Meanwhile, the two would come out on top, he said.
Councilman Eddie Tejeda asked how an economic downturn would affect the proposed neighborhood.
“You almost have zero dollar existing value,” Dieguez replied. “If no new value occurs, no dollars are deposited in the district.”
Because much of the site is currently vacant, assessed land values have nowhere to go but increase as the project is built, he said.
“We believe it presents a win-win scenario where the value to be delivered would not even exist if this development were not successfully implemented,” Dieguez said.
A plan will be created to show exactly where the revenue is coming from and how and when it will be spent.
Then the plan will be presented to the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors.
If it goes ahead, a draft plan could be presented to the public and council by the end of the year.
If things go well, Dyerly said, the university’s goal is to secure a development deal this summer and seek rights later this year.
Construction could start in 2024.