New Argentine restaurant receives grant

by Mary Rupert
A $730,000 grant has been announced for a restaurant at a development near 24th and Metropolitan in the Argentine area of Kansas City, Kan.

Commissioner Ann Murguia announced the grant at the Unified Government Economic Development and Finance Committee meeting Monday night during a discussion about the proposed South Patrol police station at the same site.

She said the grant was to the Argentine Neighborhood Development Association, which she serves as executive director, to build a franchise restaurant. Already on the former Superfund site is a Walmart Neighborhood Market and a Save-a-Lot grocery store.

“We’re having conversations with Mr. Goodcents right now, but we’re exploring all our options,” she said about restaurants that might locate there.

The grant is from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Community Development, and its purpose is to create entry-level jobs for low-income people, she said.

This restaurant will not only create jobs, but it also will broaden the tax base at the Superfund site in Argentine. It is the former site of Kansas City Structural Steel, where steel was made and before that, a smelter for silver and other metals was at the site.

“Because we have a TIF (tax-increment financing) on that site, all the property tax collected will go back to the UG to help pay for the South Patrol police station,” she said. “The more we develop this site, the less money we have to come up with from the general fund for the buildings.”

Murguia said the winter will be spent working on plans for the restaurant and construction should begin in the spring.

About the South Patrol station, UG officials said at Monday’s meeting there would be no expense to the general fund until 2016. All the commissioners at the committee meeting voted to approve adding the South Patrol station to the construction and maintenance improvement project list for 2015. Its cost is estimated at $1.85 million.

At the meeting, Commissioner Gayle Townsend asked UG officials for an idea of what projects will not be done if a project is moved up on the construction and maintenance projects schedule.

The UG was expected to have to pay about $100,000 a year for six or seven years, under earlier projections, and then the revenues generated from the Argentine developments were expected to pay for the building expenses of the police station. That $730,000 grant to a new development will help generate additional property and sales tax dollars.

Murguia said that ANDA would continue to recruit development for the site, and look for grant funds, so that the project could potentially pay for itself. She said ANDA is still in discussions about other potential developments there.

Lew Levin, chief financial officer for the UG, said the prediction was that 20 years in the future, there will be an excess to pay off the current debt obligated for the project.

The South Patrol police station project cost was reduced because of a grant from the state of Kansas for $400,000, Levin said.

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