Forest City Named Master Development Consultant for Alabama Motorsports Park

MuniCap, Inc. Signed to Manage Project's $500M TIF Program

Jan 15, 2010, 09:57 ET from Forest City Enterprises, Inc.

MOBILE, Ala., Jan. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Forest City Asset Services, LLC, a subsidiary of  Forest City Enterprises, Inc., based in Cleveland, Ohio, was named master development consultant for the Alabama Motorsports Park, a 2,800-acre, mixed-use, master-planned development in Mobile County, Ala.  The announcement was made today by project developer Gulf Coast Entertainment, L.L.C. (GCE).

The project is planned to feature motorsports facilities, entertainment venues, restaurants, hotels, destination retail, plus a recreational vehicle park, office, industrial and residential components.  A 7/10-mile oval speedway, which could eventually boast 70,000 seats, a 3-mile road course and a karting track are slated to be the entertainment centerpieces of the development.  

The property is located on Alabama State Route 158, the new four-lane connector road between I-65 and I-10, across the street from the University of Mobile and approximately 15 minutes from downtown Mobile.

Along with the Forest City announcement GCE also announced that it had retained one of the nation's leading public finance consulting firms, MuniCap, Inc. of Columbia, Md., to assist GCE and Forest City in all matters related to TIF financing.

MuniCap has extensive and specialized experience in public/private partnerships, tax increment financing and strategies for redevelopment and economic development, in addition to many other industry-leading services.  Municipal clients have included the Atlanta Development Authority and the cities of Baltimore and Washington, D.C., along with numerous other major developers.

A $500 million tax increment financing (TIF) agreement with GCE was approved on August 6, 2009 by the Prichard City Council.  The City of Prichard is one of two municipalities in which the project resides.  GCE and Forest City are hopeful that construction will begin in 2010 in order to deliver motorsports activities as early as 2012.  

Tax Increment Financing, or TIF, is a public financing method, which has been used for redevelopment and community improvement projects in many countries including the United States for more than 50 years.  Governed by the laws in each state in which it is practiced, TIFs provide tax rebates over a given number of years, as dictated by the legislation, for project developers to increase the ultimate tax value as they build the development.  TIFs are usually funded by the sale of bonds, and call for receipt of a given percent of the sales tax to the governmental entity once the development is up and running.

"GCE plans to seek races from leading sanctioning bodies," said Bill Futterer, general manager of GCE and managing member of PSE-3, the Raleigh, N.C. firm that provides consulting services to GCE.  "We selected Forest City as master development consultant because of its proven expertise in public/private partnerships and depth in project planning and long-term development. It is the master planner and developer of two of the largest, most successful mixed-use projects in the country – Stapleton in Denver and Mesa del Sol in Albuquerque," he added.

"GCE has employed the most knowledgeable consultants in every phase of real estate for comprehensive investigation of the project's potential.  We are excited by the prospect of working with them and with the local municipalities and the State of Alabama to enhance the Mobile metropolitan area's economic development potential," said Brian Ratner, president, East Coast Development, Forest City Commercial Development.   "It is a great area and we're proud to be undertaking our first venture in this state."

GCE, Forest City and MuniCap conducted their first joint planning session in Mobile on January 13, 2010, said Futterer.  "The commercial marketplace has taken on new and distinct characteristics over the past few years, which have been accelerated and heightened by the recent national economic conditions," he continued.  "Our project's significant retail elements, like others around the country, will reside within municipalities with TIF programs."

"We're proud that Prichard's TIF is in itself one of the largest ever approved in the United States," said Mayor Ron Davis of Prichard.  "TIFs have become essential for major developments and provide risk-free benefits to cities by generating jobs, funding services and supporting municipal activities.  It works well for all the parties because the funding comes from new sales taxes based on new retail within our community."

About Gulf Coast Entertainment

Gulf Coast Entertainment, L.L.C. is the developer of Alabama Motorsports Park, a mixed-use, master-planned development to be designed around a 70,000-seat 7/10-mile racing oval, a 3.0-mile road course, a karting track and other major nationally-branded entertainment venues planned for the 2,800-acre site in Mobile County, AL. Plans include hospitality, destination retail and luxury RV sites, in addition to industrial and residential components that will complement the entertainment and motorsports venues. For more information, visit www.alabamamotorsportspark.com.

About Forest City

Forest City Enterprises, Inc. is an $11.9 billion NYSE-listed national real estate company. The Company is principally engaged in the ownership, development, management and acquisition of commercial and residential real estate and land throughout the United States.  For more information, visit www.forestcity.net.

About MuniCap

MuniCap, Inc. is a public finance consulting firm that specializes in creative approaches to funding urban renewal, economic development, growth management and public facilities.  MuniCap has extensive and specialized experience in public/private partnerships and tax increment financing.  MuniCap is based in Columbia, Md., and has offices in Charlotte, N.C., Richmond, Va. and Irving, Tex.   For more information, visit www.municap.com.

SOURCE Forest City Enterprises, Inc.



RELATED LINKS

http://www.forestcity.net