Slidell To Create Economic District For Mall

SLIDELL (AP) — The Slidell City Council has proposed creating a special taxing district for the North Shore Square mall.

         The council approved the creation Tuesday night of the "Northshore Square Economic Development District." The council also set a Dec. 9 public hearing to discuss enacting a half-cent sales tax on purchases inside that district and entering into a cooperative endeavor agreement with mall owner Morguard Management Co.
 Times-Picayune’s Bob Warren reports the council had introduced the ordinance to create the district in September.

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         If the council in December approves the additional half-cent sales tax, Morguard could use the tax revenues to offset the cost of some infrastructure improvements. The council would sit as the board that oversees the district.

         The city's sales tax is 8.75 percent.

         Representatives of Morguard have asked the council to create the district and say it will enable the mall to be improved and better compete for tenants and shoppers.

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         A similar district using tax increment financing – called a TIF – was created for the Fremaux Town Center retail development that opened off I-10 earlier this year. Additional phases for the Town Center are in the works. That Fremaux district also levies a half-cent additional sales tax.

         City officials have said they've been talking with Morguard about its plans to bolster the mall, which has lost a major tenant in Sears, which closed as part of a national consolidation. Meanwhile, another anchor tenant, Dillard's, is opening a new store at Fremaux and has not said if it will keep its mall location, Morguard vice president John Talano said after the council's meeting in September.

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