Neighbors protest proposed business park at The Woodlands

by Murrel Bland

An Indianapolis, Indiana, real estate investor has proposed to buy The Woodlands which is near the intersection of 99th Street and Leavenworth Road. But nearby neighbors have some other ideas. That was obvious at a public meeting held June 29 at the Venue at Willow Creek, a meeting place at the entrance to Wyandotte County Lake.

Scannell Properties wants to build five buildings that would serve as warehouses. Shaun Cofer, representing Scannell, said the proposed sale would need a change in zoning from AG, CP-1 and CP 2. The proposed change would be to C-1 and M-2 which would allow it to be a business park. There would be five buildings which would have an estimated one million square feet of floor space. Existing buildings would be razed.

Neighbors said that they are concerned that trucks would be able to come and go from the locations 24 hours a day. One area resident, Jamie Brann, said she was concerned that the project could decrease the value of her nearby home.

Another woman who said she lived nearby asked if there was someone there from the Unified Government. Melissa Brune Bynum, a Unified Government Commissioner, said she was there only to observe and learn about the development. Another woman said she did not trust the Unified Government because it promised lower taxes when the Legends was being proposed, yet her taxes increased.

A few other neighbors, including Joe Vaught, a commercial Realtor, said they favored the complex.

The Woodlands was developed in the late 1980s, boasting as one of the finest and only combination horse and dog tracks in the country. It opened for dog racing in 1989 and for horse racing in 1990. During its early days, it attracted more than 1.7 million visitors annually.

However, by 2000, because of stiff competition from casinos in Kansas City, Missouri, attendance dropped to less than 400,000 a year.

The original developers and owners of The Woodlands were R.D. Hubbard and Richard Boushka. They estimated the cost of the project was $68 million.

In 1998, William Grace bought the track out of bankruptcy. Grace died in 2005; his heirs closed the track in 2008.

Phil Ruffin, a Las Vegas casino owner, bought the track in 2015. He is the present owner.

According to the Unified Government’s website, the property, which has about 380 acres, has an appraised value of $8,935,010. Annual property taxes are $373,004.54.

A person familiar with similar warehouse developments said such buildings could be built for about $50 a square foot. That would mean the development, when built out as proposed, could cost an estimated $50 million, or about five times the present value of The Woodlands. That could mean annual property taxes of $1.8 million. Cofer said Scannell is not asking for any tax abatements.

Scannell is proposing to donate 70 acres of the property to the Unified Government for use as a park. The development is estimated to produce more than 1,000 jobs.

The issue of the change in zoning will come before the Unified Government’s Planning Commission at 7 p.m. Monday, July 13. It will be a virtual meeting on Zoom. The website will be https://zoom.us/j/91181470857?pwd=bTU4KoQ1Y2NMOURHaUgvelhZbXZyUT09, password 721618. The meeting can also reached by telephone at 1-346-248-7799. The webinar ID will be 911-8147-0857, password 721618.

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

7 thoughts on “Neighbors protest proposed business park at The Woodlands”

  1. Cost of the buildings means nothing in terms of taxes received. I’m on the Edwardsville Planning Commission and we had people brag about their 8 million dollar warehouse and as soon as it was built they argued dark store theory and got it reduced to 3 million dollars.

    Also cost of maintaining the roads will fall to the UG, that along with declining property values will greatly reduce the net values of he warehouses (if there is any).

  2. The present proposal for redevelopment of The Woodlands property is a bad one for the long term quality of life, maximum sales tax and property tax generation and property values in all of KCK.

    This massive site lies between Wyandotte County Lake, the county’s recreational treasure and the Legends/Village West Development Zone, one of the Midwest’s premier shopping and entertainment venues. As such, this site should be promoted to developers who will construct apartments, condos and single family residential uses. KCK still lacks rooftops.

    Such a development would go a long way toward resolving this deficiency. It would also beautifully connect the lake to the Legends. The present proposal for a “semi-industrial” zoning would continue the hodge-podge of developments that has plagued Wy. Co. for decades. Further, the 24/7 heavy truck traffic would discourage future developers from residential/rooftop type developments that would increase the population and bring folks with money to spend to the area.

    This is a bad plan for Kansas City, Kansas and should be resoundingly defeated

  3. I live right by this property and have no desire to have a warehouse built in my neighborhood. I do not want to hear/deal with the trucks coming and going from a warehouse.

  4. What not have the exact same tax rate on the exact same Kansas owned voter approved slot machines for Racetracks and Casinos. 87 percent of the voters who approved slots at the Woodlands in 2007, that made Hollywood Casino possible, were not voting on two different tax rates for the same slot machines. Added Sports betting with live Racing would bring in millions of dollars, and hundreds of thousands of dollars of that money directly to the Kansas agriculture economy that includes many Greyhound and Horse farms in the State, that a trucking firm can’t financially help. There is no reason for this continued tax discrimination against the Woodlands.

  5. Complete lack of imagination on behalf of the county if they approve this rotten proposal. Are we just writing off the inside loop of 435? I live across the street and got screwed on the first go round with the Woodlands. Is heavy industrial zoning part of the “master plan” for Piper?

  6. Wyandotte County cares about one thing…money? But unfortunately they are not intelligent enough to understand that if the Woodlands was offered the same tax rate that Hollywood Casino has that Wyandotte County and Kansas could be making MILLIONS of dollars yearly. The Woodlands still holds the record for most money made by a casino or racetrack..$5MILLIION in 1 WEEK!! Blows away any casino in Vegas or anywhere else, Hollywood hasn’t made $5million in multiple months together. And where’s the hotel we were promised? The owner of the Woodlands promised he would build one in less than a year. This vote will go the way they want it, regardless of what residents want, more lies. REOPEN the WOODLANDS!!! Heeeeerrrreeer comes Woody!!!

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