Grand Park seeks economic incentives from Fraser

Hank Shell

Fraser Developer Clark Lipscomb hopes to secure a number of economic incentives from the Town of Fraser for upcoming development projects including a hotel and conference center, a multi-family rental housing project and retail locations in Grand Park.

Lipscomb will bring his proposal for tax increment incentives and government funding to the Fraser Board of Trustees at its Oct. 7 meeting.

In a copy of the proposal sent to the town on Sept. 8, Lipscomb posits that an economic partnership between the town and Grand Park will facilitate economic growth by accelerating development and making new development in Grand Park “economically viable.

“The developments will in turn deliver greater economic prosperity and job creation to the Town of Fraser, as well as stimulate economic development elsewhere in the Town,” the proposal states.

During the town board’s Sept. 16 meeting, Lipscomb briefly touched on what he said was troublingly low growth in the town’s sales tax revenues.

Lipscomb presented a graph to the board that showed an 1.7 percent compound annual growth in sales tax revenues from 2001 to 2014.

“It almost shows the heartbeat of a dying body,” Lipscomb said. “It’s anemic.”

Fraser’s sales tax revenues have grown more in recent years, increasing 4 percent from 2012 to 2013 and 5 percent from 2013 to 2014.

Fraser needs to find ways to compete economically with Winter Park, Lipscomb said.

“The bottom line is they’re doing a lot of economic incentives,” Lipscomb said. “Their revenues are growing much faster than Fraser’s, and there’s a reason.”

Grand Park’s proposal suggests a “pay for performance” structure in which Fraser will rebate certain incremental taxes and fees over a period of years.

Under this structure, Grand Park would only pay as it reaches certain tax increments.

The taxes and fees in question include incremental sales taxes, incremental lodging taxes, building permit and other planning fees, construction and materials use taxes and other special use taxes, according to the proposal.

Grand Park would designate which entities in the development receive the incentives.

The incentives would apply to any new developments in the specified planning areas within Grand Park completed within 10 years of the incentive agreement.

The incentive agreement would last 15 years from the date of the certificate of occupancy for each eligible development, the proposal states.

The proposal also suggests that Fraser sell sewer taps within the specified planning areas for one-third of the standard price.

As part of the proposal, Grand Park also asks Fraser to partner with the development to pursue incentives from state and federal programs including the Colorado Regional Tourism Act, the Colorado Enterprise Zone program and other programs from the Colorado Economic Development Commission.

“I just want to start having this dialogue with the board about what ideas are out there and what things might be able to help assist with growing these revenues,” Lipscomb said.

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