Metro Council to consider adding tax districts for downtown Bato - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Metro Council to consider adding tax districts for downtown Baton Rouge

Holiday Inn Express on North Blvd. (Source: WAFB) Holiday Inn Express on North Blvd. (Source: WAFB)
Corner of Florida Blvd. and Third St. where a Courtyard Marriott will be built. (Source: WAFB) Corner of Florida Blvd. and Third St. where a Courtyard Marriott will be built. (Source: WAFB)
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A decade ago in downtown Baton Rouge there wasn't a hotel room for miles which was bad news for conventions or visitors. 

However, Downtown is currently on the verge of hitting an impressive milestone of 1,000 hotel rooms thanks to some financial incentives known as TIFs, tax increment financial districts.

"It goes back to the master planning for downtown. One of the things was to put downtown on an even playing field with other areas of the parish that may have more room for parking and stuff," said Downtown Development District Executive Director Davis Rhorer of the incentives. 

TIFs are basically sales tax rebates given to hotels to help offset the cost of construction. Over the years, the city has awarded the rebate to every hotel downtown with the exception of the Belle of Baton Rouge.  

On Wednesday, the Metro Council will consider two more for the new Holiday Inn Express on North Blvd. and for a Courtyard Marriott that will be built on the corner Florida Blvd. and Third St. City leaders say the TIFs have been key in bringing in more hotels, which in turns brings in more visitors and more revenue.

"A lot of conventions will only come to a city if you can provide them with 1,000 hotel rooms within a certain radius. So this will allow us to bring in that extra business," said Councilman John Delgado.

Both requested TIFs would be a two percent rebate on the 13 percent sales tax collected by hotels. That's considerably less than the first TIF awarded which was a 10 percent rebate. As Downtown continues to thrive, many hope that the extra incentives won't be needed in the future to drive development. 

"I think that downtown is always constantly evolving and changing. What it is now and what it will be three years from now will be totally different. We always have to look at these things and see and measure that for the bigger benefit for the city," said Rhorer.

Copyright 2015 WAFB. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly