Owner of pump house receives tax abatement

The owner of the pump house property in Columbus will receive some tax breaks in the years to come, but not as many as he asked for.

Tony Moravec, representing Moravec Realty, purchased the property from the city this past summer for $285,000. Moravec is spending approximately $2.5 million to renovate the site. The company had requested a property tax abatement that would have covered 100 percent of the real property for 10 years. The Columbus City Council considered that request during its meeting Tuesday evening. Councilman Frank Jerome expressed concern with the potential loss of tax revenue to the city that a full abatement may cause. He asked for, and received, an amendment to the resolution that reduced the abatement to a “standard” 10-year deal that sees the abatement drop an equal percentage over the period of the abatement. That measure passed.

A second abatement request for personal property inside the building failed for lack of a motion. The proposal would have given tax breaks to Upland Brewing Company, which is scheduled to open a restaurant in the summer of 2016. Moravec expressed dismay with the council’s lack of action on the request. He asked the council for an explanation. Councilman Tim Shuffett explained that, historically, the council only gave abatements on personal property when it resulted in “finished,” or “value added” products that result in other jobs being created or maintained. Mayor-Elect Jim Lienhoop expressed sympathy with Moravec’s concerns, but added that local government has to follow state law.

These abatement discussions followed quick action taken by the council on designating the pump house site as an Economic Development Target Area, then an Economic Revitalization Area. Both items were approved.