Business

The unemployment rate was 6 percent in Wyandotte County during October, down from 7 percent in September, according to the Kansas Department of Labor. It is still the highest county unemployment rate in the state.

The October figure also was down from one year ago, when unemployment was 7.7 percent in Wyandotte County.

Kansas City, Kan., had a 6.1 percent unemployment rate in October, which was the highest of all the largest cities in the state, according to KDOL figures. The second highest was Wichita, with 4.9 percent; and third was Leavenworth, with 4.8 percent. Labette County, including the Parsons, Kan., area, had a 5 percent unemployment rate.

Statewide, the unemployment rate for October was 4.4 percent. The unemployment rate declined statewide from 4.7 percent in September and 5.2 percent one year ago.

The Wyandotte County unemployment rate represents 4,183 persons who are unemployed.

Statewide, private sector jobs increased 1.2 percent since last year, according to KDOL. Since last month, private sector jobs increased .7 percent statewide, seasonally adjusted.

“Labor market conditions improved with record high employment and a 0.3 percentage point decrease in the unemployment rate from 4.7 percent in September to 4.4 percent in October,” said Efua Afful, labor economist, about the statewide figures. “With higher consumption capacity, we expect greater demand for goods and services with benefits for consumers and businesses.”

The Unified Government Commission tonight approved bond issues for some economic development projects.

The Associated Wholesale Grocers expansion was a project that returned to the commission because of a ruling by the Court of Tax Appeals.

AWG made an addition onto its existing building. According to George Brajkovic, director of economic development, COTA’s interpretation was the only portion eligible for abatement was the tower portion of the building.

Approved tonight was a larger industrial revenue bond participation, which did not require UG backing, Brajkovic said. The new ordinance allows issuing $17.2 million in industrial revenue bonds for AWG’s property, including a newly constructed corporate office tower.

According to UG documents, AWG has consolidated its offices into a newly constructed corporate office tower at the property location.

Also approved tonight was a resolution for a performance agreement for the General Motors paint shop expansion at the Fairfax plant, an $80 million project. The resolution calls for a 50 percent payment in lieu of taxes for the expansion. In addition, there may be additional incentives applied to this, up to 75 percent PILOT, if more GM suppliers locate in Wyandotte County.

Originally, in 2012, this project was planned for industrial revenue bonds. A new statute allows a 10-year term on abatement for certain projects, Brajkovic said.

Two General Motors executives from Detroit, along with the manager of the Kansas City, Kan., plant, attended the meeting.

One of them, John Blanchard, director of local government relations for GM, expressed appreciation for the support the plant has received from the UG through the years, and said it was a significant investment for the company. He said this plant will be very competitive for future products, and an investment like this is critical for the future.

UG officials expressed their appreciation for the expansion and the plant’s continued presence in the community throughout four or five generations.

Another economic development project approved tonight involved two ordinances authorizing the issuance of industrial revenue bonds for PQ Corp.’s expansion at 1700 Kansas Ave. The first is for $22 million and the second, for $34.1 million.

Last year the commission adopted a resolution approving the intent to issue $219 million in IRBs and a 75 percent tax abatement, and approved an ordinance to issue $101 million in IRBs for the project.

Several projects in the CMIP budget for 2015 temporary note and bond financing were approved. Two of the 14 projects originally proposed were removed from the list.

The two projects that were removed included elevator upgrades scheduled in 2015, and the upper Conner Creek interceptor sewer 115th Street projects. Those projects will be revised and considered at a later time, according to the agenda.

The total budgeted financing of the original 14 projects was reduced by about $1.2 million.

Also at tonight’s meeting, an ordinance was approved to authorize UG lawyers to commence legal proceedings to acquire property for the Oak Grove Road, South 53rd to South 55th Street project.

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Other Legends news: New Eddie Bauer Outlet store, holiday lighting ceremony Saturday, and stores opening at 10 p.m. Thanksgiving night

Jose Pepper’s, a Mexican restaurant, opened today at The Legends Outlets, Kansas City, Kan.

According to a Legends spokeswoman, the new restaurant is one of 13 Jose Pepper’s restaurants in Kansas and Missouri. The business was founded in 1988.

The new 6,200-square-foot Jose Pepper’s is opening in the space next to Cavender’s Western outfitter at 1847 Village West Parkway, Suite K131. It is the former location of Outback Steakhouse. The restaurant has been totally revamped, the spokeswoman said.

It has been a busy time of year at The Legends Outlets. Just last week, another store opened there.

The Eddie Bauer Outlet store opened last week. While there are other Eddie Bauer stores in the metro area, this is the first Eddie Bauer Outlet store in the metro area, according to the spokeswoman.

The store features outdoor active wear for men and women, including coats, jeans, shirts, vests, sleepwear and more. It also carries travel accessories such as backpacks and laptop bags. Camping and outdoor sports gear also will be found at the new outlet store.

The new Eddie Bauer Outlet store is located between J. Crew and OshKosh B’Gosh stores.

The Legends Outlets also will have a special 10th anniversary lighting ceremony at 7:45 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 22.

The ceremony around a 45-foot holiday tree will feature giveaways and a display of synchronized lights. Musicians will play from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

As part of the 10th anniversary event, Legends Outlets will give each person attending an electronic candle, and musicians will lead Christmas carols.

This family event is open to the public.

The Legends Outlets also is opening at 10 p.m. Thanksgiving night for Moonlight Madness, according to an announcement.

More than 70 outlet brands will open at 10 p.m. Thanksgiving night for 23 hours of Black Friday shopping. Stores will be open through 9 p.m. Friday.

Legends Outlets plans a “Black Friday survival kit” giveaway at 9 p.m., at the center courtyard area, to the first 200 people. Other giveaways are planned through midnight. There will be special holiday music through midnight.

A free midnight movie will be shown at Phoenix Theatres Legends 14, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.

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