In April, Metro Council approved a new redevelopment district for the Dickerson Road area.
If there was ever a question as to why such action was needed or desired, all you have to do is look at a breakdown in the property tax revenues generated out of each council district.
District 5, which includes Dickerson Road, contributes the least amount of property tax revenue of the 35 council districts, according to an analysis conducted by the Metro Property Assessor’s office for The City Paper. Property in District 5 generates $7.1 million in property taxes — less than 1.1 percent of Metro’s total.
Neighboring Council District 7 is second-lowest with just under $8 million. Cross the Cumberland River from that council district and you are in the one that generates the most. Councilman Phil Clairborne’s District 15, which runs from Pennington Bend to Interstate 40 at the airport, delivers more than $43 million to city coffers.
The data shows the impact commercial development can have in terms of generating property tax revenue. This has become a main-stage issue as Mayor Karl Dean and his staff try to grow the tax base without hiking taxes. It also shows where development can be steered to generate bigger marginal gains.
The Metropolitan Development & Housing Agency created the Skyline district at the behest of local leaders, merchants and residents, who were looking to reduce crime and blight. But the net effect could also mean higher tax revenues as values rise.
Phil Ryan, MDHA’s executive director, said a few people are looking at redeveloping parts of the area. But right now, the agency is focused on improving streetscapes and other infrastructure first.
“That gets the juices going and leads to future development,” Ryan said.
In District 5, the residential taxes generated are roughly even with commercial and industrial taxes — a ratio government leaders don’t consider to be ideal. Commercial tax rates are higher than residential rates and carry more of the burden in paying for services residents use.
With District 5, a focus on commercial development could result in the “biggest bang for the buck,” Ryan said.
Increasing property tax revenue was one impetus for reviving a dead mall in Bellevue.
“We did enough research to know that the dead mall was holding down property taxes on surrounding properties,” said James Weaver, the Nashville attorney who helped developer Foursquare Properties obtain a development district around the mall.
Claiborne’s district ranks at the top chiefly because of the hotels, office and industrial sites there. Commercial and industrial property taxes exceed residential three to one. Fueled by the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, Sheraton Music City, Nashville Marriott Airport and other hotels, the district also generates nearly half the hotel and motel tax revenue in the county.
“There’s no other single district that has that kind of impact on the hospitality industry,” said Walt Baker, president of the Greater Nashville Hotel & Lodging Association.
Across the county, the Green Hills area ranks second in terms of producing property taxes with $42.5 million — but runs counter to the notion that commercial property tax revenue lead the way.
There, residential tax revenue far exceeded commercial taxes, even with The Mall at Green Hills in the mix. The 2010 arrival of Nordstrom might bring a little more balance.