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Kalahari is just the latest of many incentive deals
Date published: 1/13/2008
In addition, it will return 25 percent of the new sales tax money generated by any expansion of an existing department store at the mall.
Spotsylvania also offered incentives to entice outdoors retailer Gander Mountain to move into the old Wal-Mart building on State Route 3 in 2004.
Under that agreement, the county is to return to Gander Mountain half of its local sales taxes from 2005 until 2012.
Both of the Spotsylvania plans use percentages similar to the city's Kalahari deal to determine the amount of incentives to give their target businesses.
But both of the county plans only use the sales tax as the basis.
The city, on the other hand, will return money to Kalahari that's equal to 47.5 percent of its business license, real estate, meals, lodging, admissions and local sales taxes.
But the Kalahari project is also more than twice as big an investment as either of the Spotsylvania projects.
Kalahari plans to invest more than $225 million in the initial phase of its 700-room resort. Within 10 years of opening, it must invest another $25 million, or the 20-year incentives deal becomes a 10-year deal.
Gander Mountain was required to invest $2 million in the old Wal-Mart building, and the Towne Centre is a roughly $100 million project.
TYPES OF INCENTIVES VARY
These "grants" of a percentage of a business's tax bill are only one type of incentive Virginia local governments use to attract projects their officials believe will benefit their economies.
To entice Great Wolf Lodge to locate near Williamsburg, York County gave it a flat $300,000 grant when it got its occupancy permit, along with $60,000 toward some soil improvement work that was needed.
York County Economic Development Director Jim Noel said the county got its grant back within three months of Great Wolf's opening.
The hotel has since expanded, but the first phase of its project constituted a $64 million investment.
"Great Wolf Lodge was the biggest incentive we've ever provided," Noel said.
Another tool localities can use to help business projects along is what's called a community development authority.
That's what Hanover County created to assist a large retail development on Interstate 95 that will include a Bass Pro Shops.