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Adams and Reese Partner and Transactions Practice Group Leader James McLaren was interviewed in both The Commercial Appeal article, "Graceland Officials Return to Memphis City Council Seeking More Tax Dollars," and also The Daily News’ article, “TIF Incentives Could Be More Common in Memphis,” which discusses how Tax Increment Financing has been a popular way to spur development in other parts of Tennessee and how City of Memphis officials are seeking approval for the third TIF district in the city for the redevelopment of the Graceland area and could rely on the incentive for other projects.

The city’s Economic Development Growth Engine (EDGE) board recently approved the creation of a TIF district for the Graceland campus around Elvis Presley’s former home. The Memphis City Council and Shelby County Commission must still approve the creation of the TIF district, and the state must also sign off on the creation of the district because the funds will improve property owned by a private entity, Elvis Presley Enterprises.

TIFs, in essence, pay up front for public or private improvements out of future growth in taxes attributed to the project. Memphis and Shelby County have historically relied on payments-in-lieu-of-taxes incentives for economic development efforts. While TIFs provide upfront financing for public and private projects, PILOTs reduce property tax payments over a period of years to spur investment.

“TIFs are another tool that should be in our toolbox,” said McLaren, who is representing EPE and has worked many projects that involved incentives. “For the right project, a TIF can be a more effective incentive than a PILOT.”

At Adams and Reese, McLaren provides transactional counsel primarily for economic development, public finance, real estate development, commercial lending and mergers and acquisitions.

He has been Lead Counsel for the Memphis Center City Commission, the downtown development authority for Memphis, for more than 20 years where he has supported revitalization of downtown Memphis through planning and implementation of redevelopment initiatives such as tax incentives, tax increment financing, public-private partnerships, project development, land assembly and transactions involving historic tax credits.