A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Edgewater: No apartments after all

Written April 22nd, 2016 by Hasso Hering
This vacant former industrial site I part of Edgewater Village. whose first five houses and two under constriction can just be made out on the far side.

This vacant former industrial land is part of Edgewater Village, whose first five houses and two under construction can just be made out in the distance. The riverside Dave Clark Path is beyond the fence on the left.

It now sounds as though apartments are not in the future after all for Edgewater Village, the private riverside housing development in which Albany’s urban renewal agency invested $2.4 million.

In December 2015, developers George and Paula Diamond of Lake Oswego told the Central Albany Revitalization Area advisory board they’d like to change their most recent plans for 60 single-family units and build multiple-family units instead. Board members said they would consider it and asked the staff and the Diamonds to work out the details.

This week, on Wednesday, Diamond appeared before the board again. He said he decided against changing the plans and wanted to go ahead with the most recent one, which called for a mix of houses and town houses. But he would need an extension of the deadlines set by CARA, which called for the housing construction to be complete by 2018. The details of an extension will be worked out between the developers and the city staff and then be presented to the board.

Under the terms of CARA’s partnership with the Diamonds, the city’s investment of $2.4 million is in the form of a loan that is to be forgiven in stages at the rate of $40,000 per unit as houses are completed. The first five were finished on time last year. The contract calls for 10 additional units to be finished by Aug. 30, 2016; another 10 by the same time in 2017, and the final 35 by the end of August 2018.

So far, two additional units are nearing completion, near the first five. Diamond told the board that none of them have been sold but some have renters. The plans call for bigger houses to be built facing the riverside Dave Clark Path and the Willamette River beyond, and Diamond told the board those lots are for sale.

The Edgewater Village saga began when an abandoned packing plant on the site burned down in 2006 and the city started looking for a developer for the nearly 6-acre site. It now appears the 10-year-old story will have a few more years to run. (hh)

12 responses to “Edgewater: No apartments after all”

  1. hj.anony1 says:

    Thanks HH. Informative read. None are sold. Hmmmm. Should we read into this….that most will be rentals then. Upfront, this is a rough patch of Albany. Literally. We know the saying or the like …buy the worst house in the best neighborhood. These Diamonds are in the rough. Pun intended. Why anyone would buy a newly constructed home in this spot …..well defies common sense.

    Maybe those new Dave Clark path lights will help.

  2. Dale says:

    Thanks for the information.
    I was hoping this was going to help this area improve.
    Time will tell.

  3. Deborah Orr says:

    Remind me again where CARA gets the money to loan / give away?

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      Tax Increment Financing (TIF) – It has been used for a couple of generations across the USA to very good effect. Good explanation:

      What is a TIF district? Is it a tax increase?
      TIF stands for Tax Increment Financing. A tax increment is the difference between the amount of property tax revenue generated before TIF district designation and the amount of property tax revenue generated after TIF designation.

      Only property taxes generated by the incremental increase in value of TIF district are available for TIF projects. Tax rates do not change when a TIF is created. TIF districts do not increase taxes.

      Creating a TIF does not reduce property tax revenues available to overlapping taxing bodies like schools. Property taxes collected on properties included in the TIF at the time of its designation continue to be distributed to the school districts, park district, library district, and other taxing districts and are not reduced by the TIF creation. Only taxes derived from future growth that would not have occurred, “but for the TIF” go to TIF projects.

      History of TIF Districts
      In the 1960’s and 1970’s, the federal and state governments began cutting back economic development programs that cities could use to revitalize communities. TIF districts are one of the few remaining tools that local governments can use to attract new business, invest in infrastructure and rebuild blighted areas. TIF districts are a popular and effective redevelopment tool, used in 47 states across the country and in over 250 Illinois cities.

      What are the benefits of TIF districts?
      TIF’s create short and long term benefits for communities, which include:

      Provides development incentives requiring no tax increases.
      Properties are assessed and taxed the same way as in non TIF areas. The only change is that during the life of the TIF, property tax revenues are distributed differently with the incremental increase in tax revenue going to the village to finance redevelopment expenditures within the TIF area and the rest going to the underlying taxing bodies.

      Increases property values.
      TIF redevelopment projects are an investment that causes property values to increase thus broadening the tax base and benefitting everyone who pays taxes.
      Induces private investment and development. Village’s and Cities can utilize TIF funds to offset relocation costs, development costs, and improve needed infrastructure to facilitate redevelopment.

      Creates jobs, job retention and supports training programs.
      Increased development, redevelopment and relocation mean a greater demand for workforce, and often times a higher skilled or higher educated workforce. Redevelopment also impacts areas outside of the TIF enabling other businesses to grow and prosper as well.

      Creates a stronger, broader tax base.
      Infrastructure improvements, demolition or redevelopment of blighted areas attract private developers to invest in the community. As a result, the overall equalized assessment value increases, lessening the property tax burden.

      Locally controlled.
      Municipal officials are responsible for determining the best utilization of TIF funds, not the state or federal government.

      Incremental revenue is reinvested in the TIF district.
      TIF funds are only utilized within the TIF district as a means to encourage the redevelopment of the area.

      Benefits other taxing bodies.
      At the end of the TIF the entire property tax generated by the newly revitalized property goes to the underlying taxing bodies providing a revenue increase for schools, parks, libraries and so forth without raising taxes.

      Do TIF’s divert money from schools?
      No. On the contrary, TIF’s, when properly executed, create money for schools. First, schools continue to receive all the tax revenue they were entitled to before the creation of the TIF district. Second, under most circumstances, a school’s state aid is greater when a school district overlaps a successful TIF. The incremental growth in property values is excluded from the property tax base when the state calculates the amount of aid it should award to a school district. The “poorer” a school district, the more it stands to benefit from having a TIF district.

      Are TIF plans and expenditures public?
      Of course. When a TIF is established there are numerous legal requirements designed to insure the public and also other local taxing bodies are informed. Public hearings are held and all expenditure decisions must be made in public by local elected officials charged with representing the community. All documents pertaining to a TIF are available through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

      • Jim Engel says:

        Great job of verbiage Ray! Snow’em with words with just a nugget or two of real information so they leave with a feeling of being full but they are really just bloated! Did you work on the Obamacare document? The monies to CARA TAKE money from every taxing district! Let’s be clear. JE

        • Ray Kopczynski says:

          A question was asked, I responded with facts. Sorry those basic facts seem to bother you Jim…

      • GregB says:

        Sorry Ray, but I really don’t understand where CARA gets their money now. I thought I knew where they got their money, but after reading your your explanation, I don’t.

        • Ray Kopczynski says:

          If the info I provided is not sufficient, come see me at the Oregon Employment Dept. (139 4th Ave SE) between 8:00am & Noon. Very easy to show you a simple drawing. No way to post same here…

  4. Jim Engel says:

    O my, is there a disturbance in the CARA force??!!! Let’s get real, our bucolic river front is NOT the French Riviera!!! Besides, driving thru the meaty, red neck area just to get home doesn’t lend to enjoyment. Just how much “fixing up and lipstick” is needed shouldn’t be at taxpayers write off expense! Banks are far more prudent investor. Must CARA speculate with OUR tax money with this forgivable loan nonsense??!!!

    Not to be totally negative, I wish to give credit to two river front businesses. The other week we enjoyed the Calapooia then the Deluxe brewing companies on a warm evening. But to land with a hoo hum rivers edge view not my money!… awwwww. JE

  5. hj.anony1 says:

    Realized my post was on the negative side. Shame. Shame. Very unlike my progressive self. Yes, time will tell. Hopefully upon full buildout, the area will be a nice community for
    renters and owner occupiers alike.

  6. Shawn Dawson says:

    I am not opposed to all CARA projects, but this one does seem like a colossal bust. I do wonder if the folks who approve the money would admit it if they recognize it as such, or if they would bury their heads in the sand.


  7. Ray Kopczynski says:

    It obviously has not worked as everyone had initially believed it would. but it is definitely not a “colossal bust.” Much time left yet and while much progress has been done since it was started, much yet to do. The developer has also sunk a lot of money into it so far — and will be doing more…


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