Press Room

Developer seeking tax deal to build retail center

By David Mekeel, Reading Eagle

The developer of a proposed retail center in Cumru Township is looking for a tax deal that will allow it to fix a local bridge and keep its project moving.

Theodore W. Auman of TedCar Properties LLC pitched the idea of a tax increment financing zone for Gateway Grings Hill to the Gov. Mifflin School Board on Monday night.

TedCar has constructed a 21,000-square-foot medical facility at the site along Route 222 that will be used by Reading Hospital. Auman said the facility should be ready to open in the coming weeks.

A hotel also is planned, Auman said, but the big addition would be 300,000 square feet of retail space. It would consist of a supermarket anchoring a strip mall, including pads for a bank and casual restaurant, Auman said.

However, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has told the developer that a bridge on Grings Hill Road needs to be widened before the retail center is built, Auman said.

With tax increment financing, property taxes from site improvements would be spent to finance the bridge work.

The school board appointed Mark Naylon, business manager, to represent the district on a steering committee that will work out the details of the plan. Cumru Township and county representatives will also be on the committee.

All three taxing bodies - the district, county and township - must agree to creating the tax increment financing zone for the plan to take effect.

Each would collect its normal taxes from the property, then make payments to the Berks County Redevelopment Authority based on a negotiated rate. The authority would pay off the loan for the bridge.

The zone would last no more than 20 years, after which the taxing bodies would all start keeping their full allotment of taxes from the property.

It is unclear when the steering committee will start meeting to discuss details of the plan.

Contact David Mekeel: 610-371-5014 or dmekeel@readingeagle.com.