A project to sell 24 acres of Unified Government-owned property near The Woodlands to Scannell Properties, a developer, moved forward on Monday night.
The Economic Development and Finance Committee voted to approve the purchase agreement for Scannell Properties to buy 34 acres of UG-owned land, and donate 70 acres to the UG Parks Department in the Woodlands redevelopment project.
This was a smaller part of the overall Woodlands sale to Scannell. The dog and horse racing track at 97th and Leavenworth Road closed in 2008 while awaiting a better deal from the Kansas Legislature on its proposed slots revenue, and never reopened.
The larger deal is a private one, where owner Phil Ruffin is selling around 400 acres to Scannell Properties for a warehouse redevelopment, with some small neighborhood retail planned at 99th and Leavenworth Road. Scannell has an agreement to purchase the Woodlands property.
Katherine Carttar, UG economic development director, said the agreement would allow Scannell to purchase 34 acres from the UG at 99th and Leavenworth Road, for a price of $2,031,495.78, based on $59,055.11 per acre. The UG had acquired the land in a tax sale, according to Carttar.
As part of the deal, Scannell would donate 70 acres to the UG for parks land. The land is close to Wyandotte County Lake Park and would be used for parks and trails, according to Carttar. That land will act as a buffer for the warehouse development.
Rezoning for the project and a master plan change has already been approved.
The first phase of the project is around 100 acres, with a 1 million square foot building, Carttar said, then there is 94 acres of undeveloped property for park land on the east side, and over 200 acres is still available for future development.
There is no request for tax abatement, Carttar said. She said the taxes today would be about $400,000 on the 415 acres. Once the first building is complete, they would be looking at over $2 million in taxes on the building, and an additional amount for the land, she said, estimated at $2.2 million a year in taxes.
Laurie and Adrian Torrez, who live near the Woodlands, spoke at the meeting.
Laurie Torrez said the Woodlands’ owner should not set the price on the land, and they should have an independent appraiser look at it. Adrian Torrez said he felt like it was already a “done deal” and his neighborhood had become a sacrificial lamb because of the need for the UG to do a development.
In answer to a question by committee member Jeff Bryant, Carttar said the UG did not have an independent appraisal done, but the appraisal was done by the UG’s own appraisal department.
The UG decided the purchase price for the land should be the same rate as the Woodlands land, according to Carttar. She said she thought it was a fair price. To the $2 million the UG will receive for the land will be added the land being donated for parks, and also $75,000 Scannell is donating to help with improvements to a shelter and improvements to trails on the park land, she said. At the rate they are paying for the other property, the donated land would be worth about $6 million, she said.
The project now goes to the full UG Commission for approval.