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A tax increment financing bond series gained approval by the North Little Rock City Council on Monday evening to put public infrastructure in place to allow for residential expansion of the Rockwater Village development in the Lower Baring Cross neighborhood.

The 2019 bond series for $790,000 will go toward expansion of the residential area, with 43 lots for new homes in the first phase and 80 new lots when built out, developer Lisa Ferrell told the council.

Rockwater Village is a mixed-use development west of Pike Avenue that is within the Lower Baring Cross Redevelopment District, North Little Rock's only tax increment financing district, commonly known as a TIF.

The new bond series will be sold at a 5.25% interest rate in conjunction with a 2017 bond series of $1.105 million issued at 3.25% interest. The North Little Rock Electric Department is the purchaser of both bond series, according to the legislation. Both bond series are to mature Dec. 1, 2031.

Property within a tax increment financing district is assessed before and after its development. Any increase in property tax revenue that results from the development is used to pay off the bonds for the project.

The expanded development will add about $15 million in additional property value, Ferrell said in an interview last week.

In September 2011, the City Council approved $1.3 million in TIF bonds for the final phase of street extension, sidewalks and drainage improvements for Rockwater Boulevard, which enters the district from the roundabout at Pike Avenue to River Road.

"This is no different than the TIF bonds we did to build Rockwater Boulevard," Mayor Joe Smith told the council in explaining the new bond series' purpose.

The bond series will be used for new streets, drainage and sewer facilities in the area where the new houses will be built on about 15 acres north of Rockwater Boulevard for the first phase of the expansion. The new homes will be priced at about $325,000 and up, Ferrell said last week.

Rockwater Boulevard, developed as a "traditional neighborhood" concept, features homes along the banks of the Arkansas River and includes a 64-slip marina. A 264-unit apartment complex is also within the TIF district.

The Arkansas River Trail weaves through the Rockwater neighborhood, providing bike and pedestrian access to the nearby downtowns of North Little Rock and Little Rock.

Metro on 05/29/2019

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