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Cabela's seeks to expand corporate offices

 

Cabela's is planning expansions to its corporate Sidney campus in the

near future, but wants tax dollars to fund surrounding infrastructure.

Before last night's city council meeting, Ralph Castner, Chief

Financial Officer at Cabela's, presented the company's corporate

campus expansion plans during a meeting of the Community Development

Agency.

"I'm here tonight to discuss maybe one of the most exciting projects

happening between Cabela's and Sidney in the last decade," Castner said.

In phase one of this plan, the corporate office near Old Post Road

would be expanded into the 27 acres west of the current structure. The

new building would be about half the size of the existing office at

150,000 square feet.

"One of the things for your consideration is a $5 million TIF project

to pay for some of the public infrastructure associated with this,"

Castner said.

TIF, or Tax increment financing projects, use the predicted future tax

revenue that will be generated from the project to fund it, according

to the Denver Urban Renewal Authority. The duration of TIF bonds are

15 years.

Cabela's plans to hire around 80 to 125 employees annually in the

upcoming years, so this new building will help the company house those

hires into 2017.

Adjacent to the Cabela's land is around 17 acres owned by Tim and

Virginia Reganis. The proposed road going into the corporate office

will run through the Reganis property. So both the couple and Cabela's

will benefit from TIF funds to pay for infrastructure.

Although there are additional possible buildings in the plan Castner

presented, at this moment Cabela's is only committed to phase one of

the project. The total estimated cost of all possible future phases of the

plan is $34 million, according to the Cabela's redevelopment plant. The

company will construct additional buildings in the future only if it sees

need for them. If the project is approved, Cabela's hopes to start grading

the land this fall, to begin construction in

early 2014 and complete the first phase of the project in 2015.

Sidney Mayor Wendall Gaston wondered if the road into Cabela's

headquarters would be public or private.

"This road is being designed as a public street," said Dennis

Armstrong, architect for Cabela's.

The road is part of phase one.

"This initial piece of public infrastructure work is a new road, new

utilities, all that going in as part of phase one," Armstrong said.

The TIF funding will primarily pay for dirt work.

"You know that land, it's fairly hilly," Castner said. "There's gonna

be a fair amount of dirt to move."

The company hopes to continue with additional phases in the future,

but that depends on many variables.

"To give Cabela's credit, they've involved our city development staff

since day one," Sidney city manager Gary Person said. "We've had

months and months of meetings to help work out some of the

infrastructure issues. From a staff perspective, we feel very prepared

and very confidant going forward."

Cabela's and the Reganis family are asking for a combined $5 million

in TIF money for infrastructure, around $1 million of which would go

toward the Reganis land.

"One of the biggest things that would have to occur is the initial

over lot grading," Armstrong said. "So that initial phase allows us to

grade and get a balance on both."

The utility extensions funded by TIF in the first phase will also

serve any following phases.

"So initially this is a front loaded project, trying to get our

infrastructure in place, if you will, and in the future just be able

to do buildings over time," Armstrong said.

Drainage issues on the property could be solved with a pond network,

like the one Cabela's already has in place.

"There will be some sort of retention activity there on the property,"

Castner said.

Jordan Ball, a representative of the Reganises also spoke at last

night's meeting.

The Reganis land could potentially have nine commercial lots, but is

located at several feet above the interstate. To even entertain the

possibility of development, it needs to be graded, which will only be

financially feasible for the couple if done through TIF funding, Ball

said.

"It just happens that each party has an interest in getting together

and working together through this," Ball said.

The first phase of this project would involve rezoning, because some

of the Cabela's land is zoned as agricultural. It would also include

grading of the land, installation of utilities and both public and

private roads, parking facilities and storm water management

infrastructure. The final part of phase one would be construction of

the new Cabela's corporate office.

In phase one, utilities would also be extended on the Reganis land,

and the area would be divided into nine separate lots.

"It makes sense that because it's by the Cabela's campus, it be made

available for commercial development because there are many businesses

that would like to be close to Cabela's," Ball said. "There are some

other public uses that have been discussed for the property out there.

None of that is gonna happen absent TIF, just because of that

topographical challenge of the property. Maybe that's an explanation

of why we're all together and proceeding in this manner."

Both Cabela's and the Reganis couple claim that this redevelopment is

not possible without TIF funding because reworking the land would be

too expensive for either entity. It would also be costly to extend

utilities and deal with storm water management. Both believe that this

project will be beneficial to the city as a whole through the jobs it

will create and the possible increased traffic and more businesses it

will lure to Sidney. This project will generate more taxable income

and sales taxes for the city, the developers claim.

"Cabela's has a long and rich history in the city of Sidney and this

announcement further strengthens our commitment to the place we call

home," said Tommy Millner, Cabela's chief executive officer, in a

press release. "As Cabela's and Sidney have continued to grow, so too

has the need for additional workspace. This is an exciting solution."

The TIF that Cabela's is seeking will not result in any increased

taxes for Sidney citizens, according to the press release.

In documents presented at Tuesday night's meeting, Cabela's claimed

that if it does not receive TIF funds for this project, the land where

the development was planned would stay undeveloped and the company

might move its plans for expansion to another community that offers

more enticing incentives.

"Thanks to Cabela's for being aggressive and we hope we can pull this

off," Gaston said.

 

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