Developer: Broad Ripple project a no-go if TIF funds unavailable

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Developers wanting to build a residential-retail project in Broad Ripple say they if they don't get financial help from the city, the project won't move forward.

Thursday night, they'll make their case to the Midtown Economic Council, which is comprised of several neighborhood groups.

Browning Investments plans to put a Whole Foods and upscale apartments just north of the canal along College Avenue. It's the site of a long-vacant Shell station and an adjacent apartment complex.

The project is estimated to cost $30 million. They're asking for $5.7 million in Tax Increment Financing (or TIF dollars) to pay for infrastructure improvements, including things like demolition and removing underground utilities. They say none of that money would go toward Whole Foods.

"TIF money will be used to benefit the public access ways we're creating and an improved pedestrian throughway, a gateway. We will actually flood-proof the site too. None of the money is toward the retailer or toward the apartment structure. It's going toward improvements of the site itself. If we do not receive TIF money, we will not be able to move forward with this project," said Angie Wethington, Asset Management.

TIF dollars are the property tax dollars generated by a new or improved project. They go into a special fund to help finance other improvements in a TIF district.

Ultimately the City-County Council has to sign off on the request. The issue could go to a council committee as early as next week.