The proposed Hamilton Crossings project came to a grinding halt at the end of June when the Lehigh County Planning Commission voted against the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) plan being proposed to support the project by developers Jeremy Fogel of the Goldenberg Group and Staten Island, N.Y., developer Tim Harrison.
Under the TIF plan, the government bodies that would have ultimately benefited from the tax revenue generated by Hamilton Crossings – East Penn School District and Lehigh County – needed to agree to give up 50 percent of those tax dollars for a 20-year period to help the developer get the project off the ground.
In realterms, this would have meant that during those 20 years about $7 million in tax dollars would have been diverted to the developer to cover costs. On the flip side, East Penn would have taken in about $600,000 per year and the county about $135,000 per year on a property currently owned by the Diocese of Allentown that generates very little tax revenue.
The project cannot happen without the TIF, Fogel told Patch in a Q&A before the county vote. “We have exhausted the search to identify other funding sources – the TIF represents the final source of funding to close the financial gap. We must have the TIF to make the project feasible.”
In the past Fogel and his partners have said that costly geologic remediation made necessary by mining activity on the 63-acre property along Krocks Road make developing the parcel without the TIF impossible. The developer also told Patch that the Krocks Road location is the only one in the Lehigh Valley that Costco will consider.
Based on the original plans for Hamilton Crossings, the Lehigh Valley would have seen its first Costco in 2014, as well as noted retailers such as Whole Foods and Target.