JC might help fund Capital Mall renovations

The future of Jefferson City's aging shopping mall could hing on approval of tax measures to defray the cost of a $37 million redevelopment plan.

On Monday, Jefferson City's Tax Increment Financing Commission voted to recommend that the developers of Capital Mall receive a TIF plan to aid in their plans to commence massive renovations of the 35 year-old building.

Many shoppers told KRCG13 they would be in favor of such renovations, even if the city were to partially reimburse the mall for a percentage of the money spent on renovations.

Rob Kingsbury of Farmer Holding Company said if the city council approves the TIF plan, people from the area have a lot to look forward to.

"We're going to touch every piece of the development. Everything from paint, to facade changes on the inside of the building," Kingsbury said. "We'll start with the exterior of the building, it needs modernization. The entrances need updating."

"I definitely don't think it looks appropriate for what it should be," said Jessica Hahl, an employee at JC Penney. "If we want to bring business here, we need to make some changes aesthetically."

If Jefferson's City Council approved the plan, Farmer would put up the $37 million to renovate the mall. Over the course of the following 23 years, the city would rebate $10.6 million back to the mall through tax revenues generated by increased sales. The plan would also involve designating the mall as a community improvement district (CID), which means the sales tax on the property would be increased by 1% for the next 40 years. Money raised by the additional 1% sales tax would also go towards mall redevelopment.

Interim City Administrator Drew Hilpert says the city really has nothing to lose.

"If we did nothing, the city would receive the same amount of money. If we do something, in theory the city will receive more, but it won't receive any less," Hilpert said.

The Council will vot on the TIF plan at its first meeting in November. In the meantime, Hilpert says, the city wants to hear from members of the public on whether or not they think the mall is worth renovating, and if public money should be put toward such an end.