By Nathan Prewett
HOOVER – The Hoover City Council voted on Monday, Nov. 20 to approve a mixed-use development project titled the Riverwalk Village on Riverchase that was discussed at the previous meeting.
The action taken amends the Riverchase Planned Use Development regulations to allow for the project seeking to rezone 91 tracts of land for a health and wellness village that would also house a medical center among other uses.
The area purchased by Healthcare Resources is a corporate campus for Regions Bank, which is moving its offices to other spaces.
Healthcare Resources sought to rezone the area from PI or Planned Industrial and PC or planned development to solely PC with conditional use for mixed use development. Corporate Realty and Signature Homes are developing the property.
With the rezoning approved, the project includes residential use, hospitality and commercial use in addition to healthcare.
In his remarks to urge the council to approve the measure, Mayor Frank Brocato said that the project will cost more than $400 million to implement. He pointed out that over time many businesses have had reduced spaces due to various causes such as changes in the economy and the recent pandemic caused by COVID-19.
The changes have prompted the city to “diversify” its economy, he said, adding that the “Riverwalk project is an exemplary case for accomplishing this goal.” He also addressed what he said was a gap in the city’s medical services.
“The city already has a history of blazing new trails and healthcare delivery with the development of our state’s first standalone emergency rooms,” he said. “However, even with the advent of these ER facilities and new medical office spaces, a void is still present in our ability to offer our residents with a top shelf medical care that a city with almost 100,000 people should have access to.”
He went on to say that Keivan Daravi, an economist who analyzed the potential economic impact of the project, estimated that it will bring in an estimated $2.5 billion in revenue over the next decade. Additionally, it will reportedly create more than 3,500 construction jobs and more than 1,000 full-time jobs.
“We can now forecast a 20-year revenue boost for our school system of $29 million,” Brocato said.
After another presentation from Corporate Realty representatives and comments from the council, as well as Riverchase Residential Association President Joy Patterson, the measure to rezone the area was approved in a 5-2 vote before the council addressed several other related items, including economic incentives.
The council passed a resolution in which the development agreement requires prepaid rent on the existing north and south tours that Regions is moving out of, explained Economic Development Manager Greg Knighton.
Knighton said that several tax policies would be implemented for a period of 20 years. 85% of the sales tax would be abated, which is estimated to be at approximately $9.4 million. Sales tax rebate on construction materials would be about 85% or $7 million in the initial phase. 85% of the city lodging tax would be about $5.4 million. The property tax rebate with 50% of the city non-educational property tax would be $3.59 million. This all totals $258 million, he said.
Councilman Casey Middlebrooks, however, expressed concerns about the expenses to the city as required from the incentives.
“The Healthcare Authority, I think you guys have done a tremendous job,” he said. “But this body has to look at the overall impact of the budget throughout the whole city. With this being a 20-year commitment with no caps, a substantial cash incentive yearly for possibly up to ten years – a project like this is what I would call a – I mentioned this – a Easter egg basket project, because I feel like we’re putting all our eggs in this basket.”
He said that the project may impact other projects if the council doesn’t change its budget policies. Pro-tempore Curt Posey suggested that the council, in future meetings, discuss options to make the project work financially along with other prospective projects that the city has or will have.
The measure was passed after a 5-2 vote.
Afterwards the council adopted two more resolutions, one being to create the Riverchase Health and Wellness district to promote health-related development in the city and the other to authorize a lease agreement with
In other business the council:
- Authorized an agreement with Shelby County for professional mapping services,
- Declared certain city property as surplus and directed their disposal,
- Authorized six additional drones to the insurance policy with Global Aerospace,
- Accepted a change order increase of $103,600 for the Lake Forest Circle Embankment rehabilitation,
- Passed a resolution authorizing the advancement of funds for the training of a Hoover Police Department officer,
- Reappointed Mitzi Eaker as a member to the Hoover Public Library Board,
- Concurred with the appointment of Ben Wieseman as a member to the Planning and Zoning Commission,
- Concurred with a statement to clarify the policies and procedures of the city regarding multifamily housing,
- Declared a property on Tyler Lane to be a nuisance and directed its abatement,
- Approved mixed-use development to Brock’s Gap Boutique BNB for a property at Mineral Trace, and
- Rezoned several properties to R-1, C-2, and E-1.
Hoover City Council meets on the first and third Mondays of every month at City Hall on 100 Municipal Lane. Livestream recordings can be found on the city’s YouTube channel.