Texas-based developers JPI want to sell their Columbia luxury apartment complex, Jefferson Commons, to a Texas nonprofit corporation that specializes in low-income housing.
But American Housing Foundation instead wants to use the cash flow from the 260-unit Jefferson Commons to fund scholarships for low-income students, a plan which the foundation believes is the first of its kind.
But, because nonprofit organizations do not have to pay property taxes in Missouri, American Housing's experiment would cost Boone County nearly $150,000 a year in revenue.
American Housing is preparing to ask the Industrial Development Authority of Boone County for a second time to issue tax-exempt revenue bonds to fund the purchase of Jefferson Commons. American Housing's first request for a $25 million bond issue was rejected by the authority in June.
The IDA was split over the nonprofit's initial request because some board members questioned whether its mission included issuing bonds to entities like American Housing. Among the authority's stated goals is to create "measurable growth" in the manufacturing, distribution, warehousing and pollution-control industries. Yet, American Housing proposes to create just five jobs with an average, annual salary of little more than $10,000. The IDA's charter also notes that applicants for the bonds should not be granted a "competitive advantage" over other companies in the local market "when the project is residential in nature."
American Housing's initial proposal to the authority noted that the nonprofit's Educational Opportunity Plan would generate an "unrestricted, non-endowed do-nation" to local colleges and universities. Half of