Greenwood narrowly approves $900K tax break

Greenwood city council members narrowly granted a nearly $1 million tax break to a developer for a new speculative building. 

Shear Property Group, an Indianapolis-based developer, plans to build a 169,700-square-foot warehouse with 12 loading docks and three overhead doors at 703 N. Graham Road, behind Greenwood Fire Station No. 94 on the city’s eastside. 

Shear plans to invest more than $8.6 million in the building, and asked the city for a 10-year real property tax abatement totaling $900,000. The Greenwood City Council approved the abatement by a vote of 5-4, with council members Ron Bates, Ezra Hill, Bradley Pendleton and Mike Williams voting no. 

During the meeting, Pendleton spoke against the abatement, saying the city should not be willing to give such high incentives for buildings with no tenants attached.

Greenwood in the last two years approved 11 tax abatements for speculative buildings. Pendleton said he recognizes the need for speculative buildings, but asked the city to consider a different style of tax break that is not as large.

"Over the past two years, I think you could argue that we have provided a bigger break or more incentive to speculative buildings than to actual businesses who have come to us," Pendleton said.

Pat Sherman, a local accountant representing Shear, said Greenwood is unique in that it does not have to pay for speculative buildings, like other communities. The community is fortunate that Shear plans to invest nearly $9 million, and a tax break decreases the risk associated with investing that much into a building with no tenant, he said.

"We are blessed in Greenwood to have speculative buildings," Sherman said. "This goes back to, ‘If you build it, they will come,’ and it seems like they have been."

Sherman added that industrial buildings of this size are a "sweet spot," in the market right now, and it will likely be filled quickly. Shear hopes to rent it out to multiple local businesses that pay, on average, $19.50 an hour, according to city documents.