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2016-07-09
Wheat Ridge, CO. Citizens Spoil Tax Subsidy for Wal-Mart

The Denver Business Journal reports this week that Wal-Mart has suddenly pulled the plug on its involvement in a redevelopment deal in Wheat Ridge, Colorado—likely in response to the fact that local residents voted for approval power over the granting of tax subsidies for developers. In this case, the developer was in line to get more than $2.5 million in tax increment financing from the city. In the process, this small citizen's group has pushed out of town one of the largest Wal-Mart developers in the nation.

The developer announced that a 40,000 s.f. Wal-Mart Neighborhood Marker has been withdrawn from the 15 acre mixed-use project. Wal-Mart said in a statement "In alignment with our long-term strategic goals, we made a business decision not to pursue plans to build a store.”

But the Denver Business Journal offered more background on the project: “The project has been controversial and Wal-Mart Stores' decision not to build a neighborhood market store at the 38th and Wadsworth intersection may be good news to the organizers of a community group called ‘Keep Wheat Ridge Local.’ The group gathered signatures for Question 300 on the November 2015 ballot calling for more citizen oversight into tax-increment financing projects that exceed $2.5 million. The measure was approved and raised immediate concerns from Wheat Ridge officials.”

The development agreement approved by the city council sweetened the deal by giving more than $2.5 million in tax incentives to the developer. However, Wheat Ridge City Manager Patrick Goff said Question 300 would not have affected the project's development agreement, because it was approved before the November election.

However, if there is an amendment to the development agreement, including a new anchor tenant, and the agreement still calls for than $2.5 million in tax incentives for the developer, Wheat Ridge voters would get a chance to weigh in.

That was enough to make Wal-Mart think twice about the Wheat Ridge project.


What you can do: On their website, Keep Wheat Ridge Local says the developer that the Urban Renewal Authority is negotiating with for the $6.2 million TIF is NOT a local developer. In fact TKG Wheat Ridge LLC was just established this past April 2015 and is out of Columbia Missouri. Bruce Glazer is the registered agent for TKG and he is Chief Financial Officer of Kroenke Sports. Stan Kroenke, in addition to owning Kroenke Sports, is a billionaire real estate developer. He is a former member of the Wal-Mart Board of Directors. He is married to Ann Walton Kroenke, daughter of Bud and niece of Sam Walton, co-founders of Wal-Mart. According to Forbes, Kroenke is worth $6.2 billion and his wife Ann is worth another $4.9 billion. Do they really need $6.2 million of Wheat Ridge property and sales tax revenues to build another Wal-Mart? It’s been written, but we can’t confirm, that Kroenke made his initial fortune building developments for Wal-Mart stores; that, between 1994 and 2006, Kroenke’s THF Realty received $117 million in tax breaks from local governments to build 10 shopping centers, of which $54 million went toward the building of Wal-Mart stores. So: a billionaire corporation using tax breaks from a local government to continue to build their fortune. How does this make sense for Wheat Ridge?”

To read more from this citizen’s group, go to: http://www.keepwrlocal.com/category/walmart/










 
 
"Norman has become the guru of the anti-Wal-Mart movement" ~ 60 Minutes

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