Interrupted by a 35-minute break to take shelter in the basement of City Hall for a tornado warning, the Unified Government Neighborhood and Community Development Standing Committee tonight advanced a new technique to deal with delinquent commercial properties.
The committee approved putting a commercial property at 8833 State Ave. into the Land Bank. It is the first time a commercial property that has been in a tax sale has been placed into the Land Bank, according to officials.
Chris Slaughter, Land Bank manager, said the property was in the recent tax sale but no one bid on it. The property had been delinquent on taxes for nine years, and it was in five tax sales without any buyers, according to Slaughter.
If there had been any bidders, the UG would not have proposed putting the property in the Land Bank, he added.
He said the property was appraised at $112,500, and the minimum bid on the tax sale would have been $115,136. Additionally, upkeep was starting to fail on the property, he said. It has three spaces for businesses and offices, he added.
A tenant had previously inquired about purchasing the property but found the taxes were too high, he said.
The UG was approached by an applicant who was interested in purchasing it and rehabilitating the property, he said. Then they negotiated an option-purchase agreement.
The purchasers will pay $65,000 under the proposed agreement, and will also pay $68,000 in estimated repairs to be done on the property, he said. The buyers will pay both those amounts, Slaughter said.
Slaughter said two Kansas City, Kan., firefighters, Kevin Pahls and Chris Handlin, are the purchasers, who will be doing the rehabilitation work on the property, as private individuals.
Commissioner Brian McKiernan said he is an advocate for finding a way to break the cycle of properties that don’t pay taxes year after year. This method may get a property back to paying taxes, he said, and it would no longer be an eyesore dragging the community down.
The idea was supported by the other commissioners on the committee, who voted to advance it to the full UG Commission meeting for a final vote. Commissioner Ann Murguia noted it was a good idea, although not all development ideas always work out. Commissioner Gayle Townsend said she was for the plan after determining that the total amount to be paid by purchasers in the purchase price plus the repairs would be more than what the UG asked at the tax sale.