VIENNA, W.Va. — The mayor of Vienna is excited about plans for his city to create a tax increment financing project. The project will allow for investment in the future of the Grand Central Mall.
The mall is the hub of the town of Vienna and a shopping destination for people all over the mid-Ohio Valley. Under the terms of the TIF, mall owner Washington Prime would tear down the former Sears building in the mall which is now empty, and re-purpose and refurbish much of the building with a more modern mall design.
“It wont be the old mall style where you enter from the inside,these will all be parcels accessed from the outside,” said Mayor Randy Rapp. “It’s going to upgrade our mall considerably.”
Plans call for $25 million in renovations to the mall. . It’s a level of work expected to hike the property values on the facility and attract new tenants and investment. For the city of Vienna it means an increase in property taxes and eventually tax revenue. However, under the TIF, Rapp said the first $2.8 million in increased property taxes revenue will be directed back to Washington Prime to help pay the cost of the demolition at Sears along with some of the upgrades.
“For us it’s a pretty good deal because the city has no money invested whatsoever, but we will benefit as will all of the mid-Ohio Valley,” Rapp explained. “It will be a reimbursement arrangement, they’re going to pay all of the money up front.”
The Vienna City Council recently voted unanimously in favor of the TIF arrangement.