By Kevin Collison
The apartment boom in the downtown River Market district got a little louder Thursday with the approval of tax incentives for a 116-unit development at Fifth and Wyandotte streets.
The developer of River Market West II was granted a 15-year property tax abatement by the Planned Industrial Expansion Authority. The $23.6 million project is being developed by NorthPoint Development on behalf of GFI Capital of New York.
The five-story project, which is expected to begin construction this December, is one of several either underway or planned in the River Market: the 276-unit Second and Delaware project; 140-unit 531 Grand project, and the 410-unit Union project at Berkley Riverfront.
In addition, KC Commercial Realty Group, the developer of Centropolis on Grand, a 56-unit project that opened last year, is contemplating three more apartment projects in the River Market that would add hundreds more units.
River Market West II is the second phase of River Market West, a 137-unit development that opened in 2014. The two adjoining properties will share amenities, including a swimming pool.
The new project will have a mix of apartment sizes: 32, two-bedroom, 56 one-bedroom and 28 studios. It will include parking for 150 cars, 81 spaces in a garage and 69 on a surface lot. The development also includes a rooftop terrace on the garage.
The PIEA granted a 10-year, 75 percent property tax abatement, and a five-year, 37.5 percent abatement to help the deal as well as a sales tax exemption on construction materials valued at $572,000.
Even with the abatement, the tax revenues are projected to jump from the current $33,000 annually to $69,000 when the project opens in December 2019.
Mark Pomerenke, vice president of development at NorthPoint said rents in the River Market currently run between $1.50 and $1.75 per square foot. He said most developers are offering prospective tenants incentives like one- to two months free rent to help fill their projects.
He said the River Market West first phase is currently 96 percent leased.