Developers looking to construct new buildings in downtown Denison will soon have a new tool at their disposal.


The Denison city council passed a resolution Monday that would create a new incentive program for development of vacant lots in the city’s Central Area District. The program goes into effect Oct. 1 this year.


“We do have a few empty parcels we want to see developed,” Denison City Manager Jud Rex said. “Especially as a part of our downtown cityscape project. We want to incentivize new buildings downtown. We don’t have a lot of new commercial buildings downtown. It will help build more buildings on Main Street and in the central area district.”


There are several main components to the program. There will be a 50 percent reduction of the building permit fees and up to two 30-yard roll-off containers at a discounted rate of $450 per container. Incentives will include a sales-tax rebate for materials purchased within city limits, and there will be an opportunity for the city to inspect and pay to replace or repair sidewalks for properties that apply.


The largest component is a cash grant of up to 10 percent of the property tax increase in value over the project. The 10-percent grant is set at a maximum of $30,000.


Rex said some of the benefits, such as building permit fees and the discounted dumpsters will be eligible immediately once construction begins.


Following the completion of the construction, the next tax year is when the property will receive the cash incentive.


Rex said there are a few stipulations. The project must be zoned in the Central Area District. The project must also meet the same uses for those areas. The approved uses include retail, commercial or mixed-use on the first floor with the second floor used for residential or office space. Residential only uses are not eligible for the program.


Also the project is not eligible to receive other incentives through the city. However, Rex said if the project is in the Historic District the project must still meet requirements of the Historic Preservation Board prior to a permit being issued. While the project will not be able to apply for other incentives directly from the city itself, the developer might still be able to receive incentives from the Denison Community Investment Corporation, Denison Development Foundation or the Denison Development Alliance.


What do you think of the city offering incentives to develop new businesses downtown in Denison? Let Denison area reporter Richard A. Todd know via email at rtodd@heralddemocrat.com. He can also be reached on Facebook and Twitter @RichardAToddHD.