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Jupiter approves taxing district for Harbourside on first reading

By BILL DIPAOLO
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 03, 2009

JUPITER — Council members tonight gave initial approval to allow the proposed Harbourside development to become its own taxing district.

“Now the city is behind the project. This gives Harbourside more credibility in bonds and loans. These days, you have to be creative,” said Nick Mastroianni, manager of Allied Capital & Development of South Florida, the Palm BeachGardens-based developers of the 10-acre hotel/entertainment center.

The vote was 4-1, with Councilman Jim Kuretski dissenting.

If approved on second reading March 17, the developers would set up a five-member board to levy taxes on Harbourside property owners. The revenue would be used to build the hotel/entertainment center at the northwest corner of Indiantown Road and U.S. 1.

“I’m happy there’s a developer willing to stick his neck out, but I don’t want to see the town get stuck with an empty project. After listening tonight, I think the council voted the right way,” said Jupiter resident Bud Zisson.

Creating the district is the first step for Harbourside in gaining council approval to use taxes generated by the development to help fund the project.

If approved on a separate vote, up to $350,000 a year from the taxes collected would go to pay for Harbourside for up to 15 years.

Final approval of the district would give the Harbourside board authorization to issue tax-exempt bonds. Those bonds and the tax revenue from the town would pay for the estimated $40 million cost for the 30 public and private docks, roads, Riverwalk project walkways, permits, parking garages and utilities.