Chevron seeks change to TIF agreement for East Providence property

Consultant tells council it would help accelerate redevelopment of former terminal

By Mike Rego
Posted 10/17/18

EAST PROVIDENCE — A consultant for Chevron, owners of a large swathe of land on the city’s waterfront parallel to Veterans Memorial Parkway, approached the City Council at its October 16 meeting …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Not a subscriber?


Start a Subscription

Sign up to start a subscription today! Click here to see your options.

Purchase a day pass

Purchase 24 hours of website access for $2. Click here to continue

Day pass subscribers

Are you a day pass subscriber who needs to log in? Click here to continue.


Chevron seeks change to TIF agreement for East Providence property

Consultant tells council it would help accelerate redevelopment of former terminal

Posted

EAST PROVIDENCE — A consultant for Chevron, owners of a large swathe of land on the city’s waterfront parallel to Veterans Memorial Parkway, approached the City Council at its October 16 meeting to provide what was termed an informational overview on the status of proposed redevelopment of the property and to seek assistance in moving plans forward.

Introduced by Waterfront Commission Chairman Bill Fazioli, Monte McKillip, owner of the Lincoln, Nebraska-based McKillip and Associates, expressed the perspective of the energy behemoth.

Both men stressed their presence last Tuesday was step one in a “multi-stage” process to set the project in motion. The first phase includes seeking a modification in the Tax Incremental Finance structure approved for the project by a previous incarnation of the council. The change would be similar to the one granted to the developers of the nearby Kettle Point property, which moved up the schedule of reimbursement for building out the public infrastructure there.

In his remarks, Mr. Fazioli noted “development interest in the city is high and bodes well for the future.” He said the change in the TIF, to which the waterfront commission gave an advisory opinion in support, would “increase the pace and development of Chevron property.” It would be a “modest change” and result in the project being “more beneficial to city and the developer.”

Mr. Fazioli said the commission, by unanimous vote of 5-0 at a September meeting and after holding several forums on the topic, gave its backing to an amended TIF agreement. He added Chevron has already undertaken ample remediation of about half the soil at the site, known as the “brownfield,” reportedly at a cost of approximately $30 million. He also cited the lack of public utilities currently available at the location as a “significant obstacle” in moving any proposals forward. After the meeting, Mr. Fazioli said Chevron plans on spending several more millions to continue the remediation effort.

Mr. McKillip, whose firm focuses on community relations, risk management, government policy and environmental services, further elaborated on those points. He said Chevron is seeking the TIF change so as to mirror what the Kettle Point developers did at that location, which was to have access to more monies at the start of the project and gave it the ability to construct the necessary infrastructure (i.e. roads, electrical line, water and sewer systems, etc.).

Mr. McKillip said the terms of the existing TIF, not reimbursing the developer for infrastructure improvements until at least 50 percent of the entire project is complete, was unworkable. He said most banks would not lend the amount of money needed under the circumstances.

The project, he continued, was not big enough for a large development, with the necessary assets on-hand to pay for the infrastructure enhancements up front, to consider. Instead, he said Chevron, if the TIF is amended, would seek “a medium-sized developer from the region who knows the market” to take on the project.

According to Mr. McKillip, since Chevron first submitted its proposal some two years ago, those infrastructure estimates have risen from a cost of just over $19 million to around $32 million. Much of that increase comes from the desire to extend Waterfront Drive southward. As part of the extension the height of the roadway would need to be raised and a bio-retention center median would be built and trees would line the road, both elements for stormwater control. Also, Mr. McKillip said the removal of the existing wharf, believed to cost about $800,000, has increased to nearly $4 million.

As told to the council last year by local officials, Mr. McKillip reiterated Chevron has reconsidered its initial mixed-use plan for the parcel, which originally leaned more heavily towards residential units with a small portion being intended for commercial use. The revised plan likely will include more hospitality and entertainment components. It would also allow for more public access to parkland and Narragansett Bay via the construction of a new wharf.

Mr. Killip said Chevron will soon submit to the solicitor’s office a revised TIF-related ordinance, which then would be considered by the council for approval and allow the proposed project to continue at a quicker pace.

“I think we need to keep the momentum,” Mr. Fazioli said after the meeting. “The city needs to show it’s willing to take the necessary steps to encourage this kind of investment.”

The commission chair said it would also behoove the city to assist developers in the near term after elements of the new federal tax law passed last year, which makes it favorable to developers to invest in certain zones such as the Chevron location, take full effect.

“The city is in a pretty strong position now. It’s definitely in the best financial position it’s been in the last five years,” Mr. Fazioli added. “The city is at the point where it can really shape its own destiny without having to rely on outside forces.”

2020 by East Bay Newspapers

Barrington · Bristol · East Providence · Little Compton · Portsmouth · Tiverton · Warren · Westport
Meet our staff
Mike Rego

Mike Rego has worked at East Bay Newspapers since 2001, helping the company launch The Westport Shorelines. He soon after became a Sports Editor, spending the next 10-plus years in that role before taking over as editor of The East Providence Post in February of 2012. To contact Mike about The Post or to submit information, suggest story ideas or photo opportunities, etc. in East Providence, email mrego@eastbaymediagroup.com.