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HOUSTON-A $200-million proposal for a mixed-used development has moved a step closer to reality with city officials’ approval of a downtown tax increment reinvestment zone (TIRZ). The Market Square TIRZ, as it has been named, will be used to float $14.3 million in bonds, of which $8.5 million will come from Harris County and the balance from the City of Houston.

Partners William Denton and Geoffrey Jones are proposing to use three city blocks–Main, Caroline and Polk streets–to develop Houston Pavilions. The project is envisioned as having high-class retail, entertainment, condominiums and office space–all packaged in about 360,000 sf. But sources have noted that, due to the high cost of downtown land values and development, a TIRZ creation was necessary to help fund the project and push it forward.

“Yesterday, the commissioner’s court approved it and last night, the TIRZ’s board of directors approved it,” says David Turkel, director of community and economic development for Harris County. The city council also has approved the TIRZ creation.”The next step is for the city and the developers to enter into a formal agreement,” Turkel tells GlobeSt.com, estimating that TIRZ agreement could be finalized within weeks.

Jones, senior vice president and managing director of CB Richard Ellis Inc.’s Houston office, and Denton, president of Entertainment Development Group Inc., based in Agoura Hills, CA have formed the Houston Pavilions LP, to move to the next step of the process. If all goes according to plan, the Houston Pavilions will be similar in scope to Entertainment Development’s successful 350,000-sf Denver Pavilions, which opened in 1998.

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