Item #3 – Gold Hill Mesa/CSURA Intergovernmental Tax Sharing Agreement – Chuck Miller
Chuck Miller explained that a tax sharing agreement between the Gold Hill Mesa Metropolitan District and CSURA will clarify the tax increment financing method of payments to the metro district. The parties involved in the agreement are still in the process of completing some of the details and therefore the item was pulled from this month’s agenda. It will be considered at a later date.
Item #4 – Proposed Vineyard Project Presentation – Vince Colarelli
Mr. Vince Colarelli began his presentation for the Vineyards Commerce Park/Data Center by stating that this project is capable of generating as much as $1 billion in new development for this community. There are approximately 30+ fortune 500 companies in Colorado Springs, all with data center needs. He is proposing a partnership with the Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) to develop a renewable energy plant using our City’s recyclable waste, sledge from energy plant, biomass, biosolids and alcohol fuels to create electricity to meet the needs of the data center. The proposed project will include the energy plant as well as a data center, dedicated open space, multi-use trail improvements, streamside improvements, traffic intersection improvements and a workforce development and job training program.
Mr. Colarelli’s project partners include the CSU, the City of Colorado Springs, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (UCCS), Colorado Springs Regional Economic Development Corporation and hopefully the Colorado Springs Urban Renewal Authority. Mr. Collarelli explained that the data center is a facility that houses computer system data from various large volume sources, back-up power supplies, backup data communications connections, environmental controls such as air conditioning and fire suppression and security devices. All of which require large quantities of regulated power, dedicated internet service from multiple suppliers as well as high security and support services.
Mr. Colarelli stated that it is imperative that the data center have a constant supply of electricity at all times. This project is proposing not only a constant supply of energy but energy from a renewable power plant source which makes it even more attractive to potential customers. The renewable energy plant would generate 50MW and can be justified through the anticipated additional load of the new data center. The plant also offers a third independent source of power to those electricity users within the development and possibly beyond. This type of alternative energy source is a third of the cost of solar, less than half the cost of wind generated power; making it an inexpensive power source that also assists CSU in developing their renewable energy portfolio to satisfy federal mandates.
Large corporations would store their data in this facility instead of building their own facility individually, thus saving dollars, space, overhead, etc. There is currently a large demand for this type of facility and per information presented the demand is expected to increase in the near future along with the increased need for additional power. This Colorado Springs project site offers favorable characteristics such as a dry climate, low utility rates, underground utility infrastructure and is not susceptible to natural disasters (tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes).
Mr. Colarelli felt that the Vineyards Data Center project would be beneficial to Colorado Springs on several levels; including job creation, tax revenue generation, an alternative energy source, elimination of landfill waste, park and trail improvements, intersection improvements, the creation of the most effective operating model for any data center in the nation and has the potential to brand Colorado Springs as a national leader in a fast growing industry and more. The project site is approximately 105 acres with 65 acres being considered for building development. The beginning phase of the project is expected to be completed in 2011.
Mr. Colarelli asked the Urban Renewal Authority to consider the Vineyards as a viable urban renewal project. He stated that preliminary figures show property tax generation at $200 million over the 25 year life of an urban renewal plan. It has not been decided whether the renewable energy plant would be owned by CSU or privately. He further stated that the site would be landscaped along Interstate 25 with natural shrubs, trees and berms for protection of the data center building.
The project would be presented to City Council at a future date along with the proposed partnership with CSU. Fees for the blight study and predevelopment agreement were discussed. Commissioner Harman stated that a discussion concerning the amount of TIF expected to be generated by this project needed to happen before a blight study was initiated. CSURA staff stated that they would do the due diligence on the TIF generation and present it to Authority members. It was also requested that the proposed developer get comments from the various project partners concerning their role in this project before the next discussion happened with CSURA. Mr. David White with the Economic Development Corporation stated that the proposed site is the right location and is considered to be “A” rated for the needed infrastructure. He explained that jobs will be created through the additional companies who would relocate here due to the benefit of the data center project.
There being no further discussion Commissioner Noyes presented the following: