Council OKs $1M in Ventana incentives - The Explorer: Pima Pinal

Council OKs $1M in Ventana incentives

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Posted: Tuesday, October 26, 2010 11:00 pm | Updated: 8:05 am, Thu Mar 24, 2011.

Last Wednesday, the Oro Valley Town Council unanimously approved an incentive deal for the biomedical firm Ventana Medical Systems.

Without discussion, the council approved the financial participation agreement worth $1 million. It solidifies months of negotiations between the town and a firm Ventana hired to help deliver the deal.

On Oct. 13, Ventana announced it plans to invest $180 million, expand its operations in Oro Valley and add 500 new employees.

State, county and local governments all pitched in financial incentives to convince Ventana's parent company, Roche, to expand locally as opposed to its other North American locations. The total incentives deal from governments could reach $13 million in waived impact fees, property tax reclassifications and stimulus funding issued from Gov. Jan Brewer.

Oro Valley agreed to a contract that would waive up to $1 million of an estimated $2.1 million in development impact and other fees the company would normally pay. Oro Valley would receive public infrastructure improvements as a result.

"Subject to the term and conditions of this Agreement, the Town agrees to provide Group (Ventana) with a waiver of One Million Dollars of permit, impact, construction and/or other related fees, associated with the Group's construction and development activities within the jurisdiction of the Town," the financial participation agreement reads.

The agreement identifies the forgiven fees as permit, development and service fees. Those would include costs associated with general plan amendments, zoning code text amendment and planned area development fees, according to the agreement.

Ventana intends to make a capital investment of $184 million in new buildings and equipment for the expansion. The project could have an economic impact of $640 million to town and the region, according to an Oro Valley news release.

The final contract the council approved on Oct. 20 provides that Ventana would later turn over to the town public infrastructure such as roads, sidewalks, pedestrian overpasses or tunnels, traffic signals, bus pullouts and environmental impact reports.

According to an analysis of likely fees Ventana would pay in connection with its expansion plans, town engineering staff estimated that impact fees, plan review costs and construction sales taxes would total more than $2.1 million. Under terms of the agreement, the town would forgive up $1 million of those costs.

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