An almost-unanimous Tuscaloosa City Council voted Tuesday night to grant developer Stan Pate the largest tax incentive package they've ever passed in order to catalyze a transformational redevelopment of the McFarland Mall property on Skyland Boulevard.

As the Thread reported last month, Pate has been working for years to reach and agreement with the council regarding the property, which has now been mostly demolished to make way for future development.

Pate and the city are calling this project Encore Tuscaloosa, which they've described for lack of a better term as a "piecemeal" development, in which Pate will be responsible for landing tenants one at a time to make the space successful.

"This is eat what I kill, OK?" Pate told the city council last month. "But we're pretty good hunters."

The businessman will also be responsible for planning all infrastructure that will lead to the new development, constructing it to the city of Tuscaloosa's standards, and then contractually obligated to dedicate it to the city. That includes streets, curbs, gutters, storm drainage plus water and sewer lines.

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Various non-disclosure agreements have prevented Pate and city officials from disclosing what tenants he is seeking for the property, but they have teased that he is in conversations with restaurants and retailers who do not currently operate in the region but are highly sought after.

The wait to learn more may not be longer, either - Pate said potential site plans could be revealed during a retailer's convention in Las Vegas later this month.

The council has voted to grant Pate a $65.1 million incentive package for his efforts. It does not include any cash incentives or bond issuance to help finance the project, which Pate will have to do independently. Instead, the city will return to Pate all revenue generated by sales tax, liquor tax, non-education ad valorem tax and lodging tax, and will also rebate various building permit fees, business license fees and more.

This unprecedented incentive will continue to return tax dollars generated at the site to Pate until he has received $65,100,000, or until the end of the year 2048 - whichever milestone comes first.

In addition to developing infrastructure and giving it to the city, Pate is obligated to use "commercially reasonable efforts" to provide at least 850 new jobs generated by the project.

After the council's finance committee advance the matter two weeks ago, there was a brief public hearing during which no one spoke for or against the development Tuesday before the matter went to a vote only requiring a simple majority of the seven-member council to pass.

All council members except District 3's Norman Crow voted in favor of granting the incentives.

Cassius Lanier, who represents District 7 where the development will be built, erupted in applause after the vote.

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