Ken Kalthoff, NBC 5 News
Surface parking at the American Airlines Center could be a thing of the past thanks to a deal endorsed at Dallas City Hall Monday. The plan calls for new city parking garages.
Dallas city leaders Monday endorsed a plan to join the American Airlines Center and West Dallas in the same tax increment finance district.
The expanded Sports Arena Tax Increment Finance District could provide a list of improvements from two new parking garages for Mavericks fans to art that might beautify power lines in West Dallas.
A tax increment finance district, or TIF, uses the future value of increased taxes in an area to provide money for improvements.
This TIF district was first created in the 1990s to provide streets and other improvements for development around the American Airlines Center in what's known as The Victory Project.
Since then, The W Hotel, high-rise apartments, condominiums and offices have been built in the area, which was once a former power plant site.
"It was a brown field site," Assistant City Manager Ryan Evans said. "No one even envisioned we would get to the point where we are now, with a 2,000 percent increase in the tax base. But again, it's stalled, and it needs another push to get it over the finish line."
The parking garages would replace surface parking lots so private property owners could use those sites for more large buildings.
The expanded boundaries of the district also would allow wealth from the arena area to support West Dallas development on the other side of the Trinity River across the new Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge.
One suggested use of TIF money in West Dallas is a screen of some sort to conceal a power substation at the base of the bridge at Singleton Boulevard and Beckley Avenue.
A restaurant attraction is one private project under way in the Trinity Groves development along Singleton Boulevard.
"Once, we took a risk and built the bridge," Councilman Tennell Atkins said. "Now, there's a connection, so we try to connect those neighborhoods to the Victory."
The old Continental Viaduct that was the vehicle crossing to Singleton Boulevard will soon close to become a hike and bike trail.
TIF money might also be used to complete an art park at the West Dallas base of the viaduct.
Atkins and two other members of the Dallas City Council Economic Development Committee on Monday voted to recommend the plan for a full City Council vote scheduled next month.
But Councilwoman Ann Margolin voted no.
"My concern is whether we are taking too much money out of the general fund to do it and whether the owners of the private property in Victory are getting too good a deal and, right now, I can't answer those questions," she said.