Downtown KCK grocery store to be on city planning agenda tonight

The Unified Government has posted this drawing of the proposed grocery store for 5th and Minnesota Avenue.

A downtown Kansas City, Kansas, grocery store is on the agenda tonight of the Kansas City, Kansas, City Planning Commission.

The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 11, at the Commission Chambers, lobby level, City Hall, 701 N. 7th St., Kansas City, Kansas.

The item to come before the City Planning Commission tonight is conformation to the master plan for the downtown grocery store redevelopment district. The Unified Government staff has recommended approval of the item.

The grocery store would be located at 5th and Minnesota on the east side of a parking lot across from the Reardon Center, and it would be operated by the Merc, a Lawrence grocery. The Unified Government would build the store.

The downtown grocery redevelopment plan, contained in the agenda for the City Planning Commission meeting, says the 14,000-square-foot grocery store would have an anticipated cost of $6,697,946, and that project costs would be paid from incremental property tax revenues generated within project area 1, where the grocery store is located, and from other available UG funds.

The plan estimated that the tax increment financing would generate revenues of about $1.9 million from the project area.

According to the plan, only $882,693 of total project costs would be estimated to qualify under the TIF act as redevelopment project costs. The rest of the funding would have to come from other sources.

The plan stated that the UG anticipates funding the rest of the project costs from revenue sharing and lease payments made by the operator of the grocery store, from local sales tax revenues generated from the grocery store, financing obtained by the UG through the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, New Market tax credits and other available UG funds.

At the UG Economic Development and Finance Committee meeting on Feb. 4, the action to set a public hearing on the downtown grocery redevelopment district, project area 1, was pushed back another month. This had previously been delayed a month. The public hearing now might take place sometime in April, according to UG officials.

Katherine Carttar, Unified Government interim economic development director, explained at the meeting that there are different meetings currently underway on different aspects of this project. The design is on one path, while meetings on tax increment financing are on another path, she said.

Community meetings will focus on what products are inside the store and what people can purchase, according to the UG.

Carttar said at the meeting that thousands of community residents are receiving postcards about upcoming community meetings, scheduled Wednesday, Feb. 13, and Thursday, Feb. 21, at Memorial Hall. The meetings will be at noon and 5:30 p.m. each day. She said the Merc also is holding other listening sessions with different community groups.

Carttar said the UG has a special asset fund that came from the sale of the downtown hotel, the Hilton Garden Inn, that is located across the street from the proposed grocery store. While this money is available for the new grocery store, she said the UG wants to make sure it leverages funds so that more funds would be available for other projects in the area.

She said the UG has engaged Sunflower Development to help with a New Market tax credit program, which essentially will get investors to pay for projects in low-income areas.

Also, LISC of Kansas City has a pre-development fund that could be available for Wyandotte County, she said. Currently under discussion is a $1.2 million loan at a 3 percent interest rate, which would be a lower rate than issuing general obligation bonds, she said.

Commissioner Ann Brandau Murguia asked at the committee meeting if the grant money that was talked about with the former downtown healthy campus project is still available.

Kathleen VonAchen, UG chief financial officer, said at the meeting that a small portion of those grant funds was spent on preliminary expenses with that project, and then it was decided to return all the rest of those funds to the foundation when the decision was made to separate the grocery store project from the YMCA project.

The City Planning Commission agenda is online at

http://public.wycokck.org/sites/planning-agendas-minutes-staffreports/Agendas/February%202019%20CPC%20Agenda.pdf

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