JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — A potential new employer and a company hoping to conduct a $19 million renovation of Tyler Apartments both could get property tax incentives after the Johnson City Commission approved them Thursday night.
City commissioners approved Payment in Lieu of Tax (PILOT) agreements for a jobs project called “Project Master” that would abate taxes on the company’s equipment for seven years provided it meets job and wage targets.
The company, which has not yet finalized its plans, expects to add 26 jobs over five years if it comes to Johnson City. To qualify for the full abatement on what’s known as personal property tax, it would have to create at least 90% of those jobs, with 12 coming the first year, three more in each of years two, three and four, and two more in the final year.
Those jobs would have to pay at least $27.08 an hour and be full-time or partial taxes would have to be paid, as they would if the job number targets aren’t reached. Starting in year eight, the company would pay full taxes on its equipment.
Commissioners also approved a deal with a Seattle-based low-income housing company Vitus, which may buy and renovate Tyler Apartments, a 101-unit Section 8 housing complex in east Johnson City. If Vitus finishes a complicated deal that includes low-income tax credits and U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) approval, it plans a $19.7 million renovation, which must include at least $7.5 million of capital expenditures on the aging complex.
After the renovations, the new owners would pay the same amount of property tax currently paid for the Tyler property — $12,248 for the city taxes and $15,222 for Washington County. That amount would increase by 3% annually over the next 15 years, and then the owners would pay 100% of the property tax.
The complex is currently valued at $1,770,000.
If the Tyler renovation goes through, the owners would be required to install covered bike racks and a covered mail center and mailboxes for residents, as well as a raised bed community garden.
The three commissioners in attendance Thursday unanimously approved both proposals.