Today's Mega Millions jackpot will be at least $400 million, the second-largest prize in the game's history.

Unfortunately, the odds of winning it are 1 in 250 million.

York City, on the other hand, has a 1 in 4 chance of being designated by the state as a City Revitalization Improvement Zone.

The payoff won't make anyone an instant millionaire, but selection for the program could have a profound effect on the city's economic growth.

"This can change people's lives," said Chad Taylor, the rock band Live's guitarist and an entrepreneur whose company is poised to invest $50 million in York if it wins a CRIZ designation.

The state's new economic development tool aims to attract business and jobs to cities by offering developers state and city tax revenue to pay off project debt.

In other words, instead of paying certain state and local taxes, developers of approved projects will be allowed to use that money to repay lenders.

York is one of eight cities competing for two CRIZ designations. Applications, which included targeted areas and potential projects, were due to the state Nov. 30.

Based on York City's just-released application, Taylor wasn't exaggerating.


Among the projects cited is a $40 million transformation of the old York Prison site into a data center. It's proposed by United Fiber and Data, the company backed by Think Loud Development and members of Live, who want the center to house data servers for the company's 300-mile fiber-optic network between New York City and Washington, D.C.

Also on the list:

•An $18 million hotel on an old industrial site near the York fairgrounds.

•An $8 million transformation of the former York City Post Office on South George Street into a hotel and high-end restaurant.

•SOMA 243, described as a "dynamic, mixed-use redevelopment project" in the Historic Newton Square neighborhood.

•A movie theater and children's museum the Northwest Triangle.

In all, York City officials are targeting nearly 130 non-contiguous acres for its CRIZ, although the plans can change as the city's needs change, according to state Rep. Kevin Schreiber, D-York City.

Within a decade, the city estimates, the CRIZ would create 10,130 construction jobs and nearly 11,000 other jobs, according to the application.

Schreiber has said he believes York has a good shot at a CRIZ designation and an advantage because of its proximity to Maryland, which could help York attract out-of-state businesses.

There are no guarantees, of course, but the potential payoff is well worth the price of a ticket.