Council moving toward dissolving La Vie district

The city-parish is taking steps to dissolve the economic development district it created in 2008 for R.W. Day’s planned mixed-use development off O’Neal Lane and to take the roughly $1 million in sales tax revenue it has been holding in escrow.

The money will go into the city-parish’s general fund.

The Metro Council’s Finance and Executive Committee on Wednesday recommended for approval an ordinance to abolish the La Vie Economic Development District. The district was created to allow the La Vie development to use any additional sales tax revenue above a baseline established the year before to issue bonds or fund public infrastructure for the project.

The proposed $1.6 billion project, which was to be anchored by a $655 million film studio and include residential, office and retail development on 955 acres, foundered when Day fought and lost a legal dispute with the state. Day was counting on getting $266 million in tax credits but was told by the Louisiana Supreme Court in January 2011 that he wasn’t entitled to that much.

Day did not return calls for comment Friday and was not at the committee meeting earlier this week, though he was notified via certified mail that the conditions of the agreement had not been met and that it would be nullified.

His attorney told The Advocate after the court decision two years ago that Day was still devoted to the project but would have to overhaul the financing in light of the decision.

The full council will take up district dissolution at its Wednesday meeting, and $988,000 in revenue would be remitted to the general fund. The district was bounded to the west by O’Neal Lane and the east by the Amite River, and to the south by South Harrell’s Ferry Road and the north by the first street north of Interstate 12, according to Marsha Hanlon, city-parish finance director.

The district, also known as a tax increment financing, or TIF, district, does not include the Wal-Mart and several other O’Neal Lane businesses.

The project was first announced in April 2007 and plans called for the movie studio, a film production training facility, 875 single-family homes, 650 multi-family units and 3 million square feet of commercial space.

Advocate reporter Rebekah Allen contributed to this report.