EDA can pay off land

Published 11:06 pm Friday, June 17, 2011

The Suffolk Economic Development Authority on Thursday approved a $2.42 million budget for the coming fiscal year.

The budget was changed slightly from the original proposal to reflect an agreement the city made to pay off a debt for the EDA.

The authority in 2006 purchased a piece of land in North Suffolk at the intersection of College Drive and Armistead Boulevard. It took out a loan for $5.6 million to buy the property.


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Since then, the authority has paid more than $1.3 million in interest on the loan, without touching the principal.

The city found the money to help the authority pay off the loan, thereby clearing the way for site preparation for future businesses that may locate there.

The Urban Land Institute recommended in February that the debt on the property be paid in full to allow development there. The ULI was contracted by the city and by the Tidewater Community College Real Estate Foundation, which owns an adjacent parcel, to provide recommendations on the use of the property.

As a result of the deal, the budget for professional fees skyrocketed from $20,000 last year to more than $500,000 this year. Kevin Hughes, Economic Development director, said the change is to allow for engineering at the newly paid-off property.

In the rest of the budget, projected expenses have risen for water, sewer, electricity and other areas.

The authority gains income from leases at the Hilton Garden Inn, the conference center attached to the hotel and the Health and Human Services Building. It pays for expenses at the Health and Human Services Building through funds from the health and social services departments and also for its own administrative expenses, landscaping at several local industrial parks that it owns and more.

To make up for the increases, the authority reduced its budgets for professional fees, property maintenance, travel and training, office supplies and more.