Archive for Business

Public hearing set for Legends CID for parking garage and improvements

The Legends Outlets has planned some changes, including the addition of a green area to be called “The Lawn,” and a jumbo screen on the smokestack, according to this preliminary drawing. (Preliminary drawing from the Legends Outlets)

A public hearing was set for Dec. 14 to consider a Community Improvement District for a parking garage and lawn at The Legends Outlets.

The Unified Government Commission unanimously approved the public hearing date at its meeting Nov. 16.

Mayor Mark Holland said the Legends needs to be a destination.

“Building apartments to bring more shoppers close by, and to redo the west end as more of an event space like you would see at Power and Light, is the kind of development that’s going to keep this development vibrant,” Holland said. “The Legends is more than 10 years old, there has to be a reinvestment in it.

“Without The Legends, most of what’s happening at Village West doesn’t happen,” Holland said. “Protecting the Legends as an investment, for everything that happens around it, is very important.”

Jon Stephens, UG director of economic development, said the new CID within the Legends Outlets shopping district would create a new CID total of 1 percent, and terminate the existing six-tenths of 1 percent assessment. The funds would be used to finance a new adjacent parking garage and lawn improvements on the west end. It is a sales tax increase for a specific use.

Stephens said The Legends is working on phase 2 of its master plan, including a garage and apartments, and the improvements on the lawn on the west end are included in this project. He said after the public hearing, they would come back to the UG for approval of two development plans.

The CID funds would only go to the garage, of which 300 spaces are designated for public use, and the lawn improvement on the west end of the Legends, he added. The green space on the west end is intended to attract new tenants, he added.

Mayor Mark Holland said the CID would not be used for investment in the apartments. It is only for the parking garage and lawn area improvements.

Stephens said some procedural changes were made to the proposal Thursday at the advice of the bond counsel, but they were not material changes.

Commissioner Brian McKiernan said he felt frustrated when they received changes just before the meeting and were not able to review it in advance. He asked if this issue shouldn’t have gone back to a standing committee first. The mayor said the issue was previously in front of the full commission, and the standing committee meeting was only informational.

Commissioner Hal Walker also wanted more time to see the documents. He said he wanted to make sure these parking garage and lawn improvement funds were separated from the apartment project, and he wanted a provision in writing that would give a meaningful recourse against the developer if the garage funds were mixed with the apartment project.

Commissioner Melissa Bynum asked if the funds could be monitored through the record of tax dollars into the UG and going out to the developer after he submits documentation of what he is being repaid for.

Stephens said the taxes are collected as sales tax, it is verified by the state, then the developer has to issue certified costs to the UG for approval. A third party reviews them, provides recommendations, the economic development office does a review of it and they go to the administrator’s office for final authorization, he said.

He said there is a cap of $26.5 million associated with the life of the total CID, which will be in the agreement.

Mayor Holland said they would set an early deadline for the development agreement, so the commissioners would have time to review it before the Dec. 14 meeting.

In other action, the UG Public Building Commission met after the 7 p.m. meeting and approved financing for building the new juvenile facility, and also for improvements to the existing jail facility and the courthouse.

The juvenile facility project was previously approved, and this action approved the financing for it.

At the 7 p.m. meeting, the UG Commission approved an amended capital maintenance improvement project ordinance that contained $24.8 million for the juvenile facility work, $5.37 million for courthouse improvements, and $3.27 million for the adult jail facility, and requested the PBC to issue bonds.

According to agenda documents, the amount of the total CMIP projects was about $114.2 million, and included road improvements, the new Piper fire station, bridge work, storm sewer improvements, and many other items.

See earlier related story at


Legends Outlets giving away prizes valued at over $50,000 on Black Friday

The Legends Outlets at I-435 and I-70 in Kansas City, Kansas, will open to shoppers at 6 a.m. Friday, Nov. 24, with more than $50,000 in prize giveaways.

The shopping center will be officially closed on Thanksgiving Day, with only a few stores and restaurants there deciding to remain open, according to a spokesman.

Prize giveaways, activities for children, holiday music, photos with Santa Claus and other activities are planned for Black Friday, according to the spokesman. Shopping hours will be 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday.

Legends Outlets will have a Scratcher Giveaway Headquarters with 400 total scratch-to-win prizes totaling more than $50,000, according to the spokesman.

At 6 a.m. and 2 p.m., the first 200 shoppers at the Scratcher Giveaway Headquarters will receive a scratch-off card for prizes valued up to $300. The headquarters is in Suite C-103, across from Victoria’s Secret and next to the Sunglass Hut stores in the Legends center courtyard.

Scratch-to-win prizes include a $300 H&M gift card; a leather handbag from Wilsons Outlet; a $100 Granite City gift card; a Fuji Film Instax Camera, a year’s supply of Noodles and Company, Harmon Kardon Wireless Speaker, and an Airhogs Stunt Drone.

There will be a limit of one scratch-off card per person, for ages 16 and older, while supplies last at 6 a.m. The cards must be scratched and prizes must be claimed, while inside the Scratcher Giveaways Headquarters.

Throughout the day, shoppers may register for the Legends Outlets VIP Club at its tent in the center courtyard for the chance to win prizes. The first 200 new registrants at 6 a.m. and 2 p.m. will receive an exclusive, Black Friday VIP Bag filled with special coupons and in-store offers. Select VIP Bags will include a special, mystery prize. There is a limit of one VIP Bag per new VIP Club registrant, ages 16 and older, while supplies last at 6 a.m. and 2 p.m.

A live disc jockey will be on site from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. to play festive music. From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Mix 93.3 will broadcast live music throughout the center.

Selfies with Santa will return from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Black Friday. Guests are invited to bring their own camera and capture a photo with Santa for their own holiday memories. There will not be a professional photographer on hand.

Another highlight of Black Friday will be an Airstream Lounge KC at the Legends Outlets from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Black Friday. This is a photo lounge inside a vehicle in the tower courtyard near Legends Outlets’ smokestack. Guests and their families may take photos and capture special holiday memories.

Kids’ activities are scheduled from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Black Friday, and they will include face painting, balloon artists, an elf on stilts, a magician and visiting with Olaf from “Frozen.”

Nearly 75 brand-name outlet stores are located at the Legends Outlets, including J. Crew Factory, Banana Republic Factory Store, Brooks Brothers Factory Store, Gap Factory, Coach, Nike Factory, Express Factory Outlet, Under Armour Factory House, Polo Ralph Lauren Factory store and the new H&M.

There is a complete list of Black Friday sales and promotions online at


KCK Chamber of Commerce focuses on immigration issue

Opinion column

by Murrel Bland

Monsignor Stuart Swetland was a Rhodes Scholar who studied economics at Oxford University in England during the 1980s. However, when commenting about immigration reform at a recent Legislative Committee meeting at the Kansas City, Kansas, Area Chamber of Commerce, he said he depends on his compassionate views as a Roman Catholic clergyman rather than a student of economics. Monsignor Swetland is the president of Donnelly College.

His comments came after a very spirited discussion among members of the Legislative Committee. Sen. Steve Fitzgerald, a conservative member of the Kansas Senate, reminded committee members that there are laws on the books that are being violated by immigrants who have entered the United States illegally or those who are here with expired visas.

Another matter to the immigration issue concerns children who came here at a very young age with their undocumented parents and have been here for several years. Many of these persons are grown and are productive members of society.

Although I admire the comments from Monsignor Swetland in his plea for compassion, the cold, hard facts dictate that many industries would be hard-pressed to operate if all of the undocumented immigrants were forced to leave this country. So it does come down to a matter of economics. Those industries that are most vulnerable include restaurants, hotels, landscaping and construction, particularly homebuilding.

I recently had a conversation with a dry wall contractor who does extensive work in the single-family housing trade. He said most of his workers are first-generation Mexican immigrants; they are very good workers, he said.

In past years, the Kansas City, Kansas, Area Chamber of Commerce has made it quite clear that immigration is a federal problem. That is consistent with the Chamber’s Legislative Committee’s present proposed position on the immigration issue:

“Encourage federal resolution to immigration reform. Said federal resolution should compassionately address situations of individuals currently in the country. Oppose state legislation increasing penalties or threatening the business licenses of employers who have unintentionally hired illegal workers.”

The Chamber’s Board of Directors will consider this issue when it meets later this month.

Murrel Bland is the former editor of The Wyandotte West and The Piper Press. He is the executive director of Business West.