Urban redevelopment plan approved by city

Photo by J.D. Sumner

Photo by J.D. Sumner

ALBANY, Ga. -- The Albany City Commission has tentatively approved an urban redevelopment plan based on the 2008 Riverfront Master Plan that could lead to the creation of two major tax-credit zones.

The Urban Redevelopment Plan will regulate Albany's urban redevelopment area, which spans much of the city.

Interim Planning Director Mary Teter said the goal of the URP is to increase business growth in economically depressed areas, promote construction or development of low-cost housing and to reduce the amount of slum and blight either through property acquisition and demolition or through relationships with the private sector that promote the use of covenants and restrictions.

But the sweetest part of the development of a URP is that it allows the planning department and the Southwest Georgia Regional Commission to apply for state Opportunity Zones, which will allow the businesses contained within the zones to access special job tax credits meant to promote growth.

"The intent is to both reward businesses who hire new employees and to make it easier for them to hire new employees," Robert McDonald of the SWGRC said.

Once the state approves an opportunity zone, businesses within the zone that have hired at least two net full-time employees fill out a state form requesting consideration for the tax credits.

When that threshold has been met and a company is approved, it can receive up to $3,500 per employee toward 100 percent of the company's Georgia income tax liability. Any additional credits can be used against Georgia employee withholding tax, according to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.

Businesses can claim the tax credits for five years on each employee.

The current URP includes two opportunity zones that were crafted based on criteria ranging from de-investment, retail or commercial vacancies, availability of retail or commercial business space and various socio-economic data, McDonald said. The areas were created with the assistance of the DCA.

The two zones the city and regional commission intend to submit include a large portion of West Broad Avenue from Front Street to Slappey Boulevard, up to Eager Avenue before jigsawing back east generally along Residence Avenue and running parallel to Broad Avenue just below Pine Avenue.

A second opportunity zone runs largely north and south beginning with a parcel on Roosevelt Avenue and going just east of Washington Street north to Seventh Avenue, snagging a portion of the block at Seventh and Jackson before heading back south down Jackson, skipping over three blocks along Fifth, Fourth and Third avenues and Jackson Avenue.

To see the map,click here.