The Walmart and Publix complex on the old Fulton Bellows site, just west of the Cumberland Avenue Strip, may be the first project to enjoy state tax credits for locating on a brownfield.
The program provides an exemption from the state’s franchise and excise tax for locating on a brownfield site rather than taking greenspace.
Then-state Sen. Tim Burchett, preparing to run for Knox County mayor, and then-state Rep. Frank Niceley, trying to preserve farm land, went to Comptroller Justin Wilson with a proposal to encourage business and industry to use existing brownfield sites rather than take greenspace.
Wilson took the proposal to then-Gov. Phil Bredesen who included it in one of his “technical corrections” bills he submitted each year and it passed. But the little-known program has not been promoted and has not been used enough to work out all the kinks.
The program reportedly needs to be tweaked because of the timing of projects and getting approval. The tax credit helps the financing package.