Council adopts Renaissance Zone plan

Changes included over next five years

Minot’s newly adopted Renaissance Zone Development Plan creates the opportunity for tax credits for redevelopment of certain North Broadway properties.

The Minot City Council on Monday approved the plan, which now goes to the North Dakota Commerce Department for ratification. The plan adopts amendments previously agreed to by the Ward County Commission and Minot Public School Board and enacts some new provisions in state law related to the operation of Renaissance Zones.

Minot’s Renaissance Zone plan proposes to eliminate two completed downtown blocks and add two blocks along North Broadway. The two new blocks include the Economy Hotel, Hardees and The Vegas as well as other properties in that area.

The new plan includes an amendment enabling a property owner who invests 150% of a nonresidential property’s value into improvements to receive an eight-year tax benefit. The tax benefit period in the Renaissance Zone currently is five years and would remain at five years for qualifying investments of at least 50% of a property’s value.

Other plan changes include:

– allows a second island, or area not contiguous to the zone.

– grants a five-year time extension to the zone. (State law allows zones to adopt up to 10-year extensions.)

Council member Stephan Podrygula asked Brian Billingsley, Community and Economic Development director, to respond to the perception by some in the public that the Renaissance Zone is a giveaway for private business that raises taxes for others.

“Without the benefits this program provides, you would not see the urban renewal that’s happening in our downtown,” Billingsley said. “There’s no way the developers of these buildings could have made the projects pencil out without this assistance.”

He added the greatest property tax increases are for the beneficiaries who pay much more after the building improvements. He also noted property owners don’t qualify for Renaissance Zone tax breaks unless they make a certain level of investment into the property themselves.

Minot has had a Renaissance Zone since 2001. Billingsley reported there have been 105 applications, 83 completed projects and 12 projects that were either incomplete or denied. There are 10 pending projects.

“In some of these instances, these buildings were worth well over a million dollars while the value of them before the program was under $100,000,” he said.

State law allows Minot to have up to 42 blocks in its Renaissance Zone, focusing on areas of the greatest blight. As projects are completed, blocks are closed and new blocks can be added.


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