YMCA lofts renovation project application receives UG approval

The former Eighth Street YMCA building received approval for a neighborhood revitalization special project application at Thursday night’s Unified Government Commission meeting.

The commission voted unanimously in favor of approval. The former YMCA building at 8th and Armstrong, which is closed, is being turned into senior lofts.

“We believe this will be a catalyst for ongoing development in the downtown area,” Commissioner Tom Burroughs said.

At a Monday night UG committee meeting, UG officials said the $8.9 million project will turn the former YMCA facility into 44 senior units with mixed income rentals. Construction will start in September 2019 with a completion date projected in November 2020, according to officials.

The developer is Prairie Fire Development Group.

The project is using historic preservation tax credits and has applied for neighborhood revitalization tax rebate program, according to officials at the Monday night meeting. The neighborhood revitalization project application is a 20-year, 75 percent rebate. It could increase to 85 percent if local, women and minority goals are reached.

At the Monday night meeting, commissioners said the YMCA building as a not-for-profit was not paying property taxes in the past, and now it will pay some taxes, even with the rebate.

In other action, the UG Commission unanimously approved an ordinance and resolution for the downtown grocery store’s $1.4 million general obligation bonds. The bonds will be purchased by the Local Initiatives Support Corp., according to agenda information. The new grocery store will be at 5th and Minnesota, on the northeast side of the existing parking lot. There was no discussion of this item at the July 11 meeting.

The commission also approved the fire apparatus lease purchase turn-in agreement with PNC Equipment Finance, not to exceed $4.5 million. The agreement mentioned four pumpers and two aerial apparatus. The Fire Department will turn in the leased equipment to PNC after a period of time.

Commissioner Burroughs thanked the staff for bringing a savings or cost avoidance of about $1.4 million with this item.

Also approved were nominations to boards and commissions, including David Meditz for Landmarks Commission Board, nominated by Mayor David Alvey; Joanne Huey for Board of Zoning Appeals-City Planning Commission, nominated by Mayor Alvey; Billy Brame for UG Board of Park Commissioners, nominated by Commissioner Melissa Bynum; Susan White for Area Wide Advisory Council on Aging Wyandotte-Leavenworth, nominated by Commissioner Melissa Bynum; Stephen Craddock for Landmarks Commission, nominated by Commissioner Angela Markley, and Jim Ernst for Board of Zoning Appeals-City Planning Commission, nominated by Commissioner Angela Markley.

The commission meeting was around 5 minutes on Thursday night. It followed a two-hour budget workshop discussion.

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