Thursday, Jan. 10 2013 5:12PM
Grocery proposed at Todd George, U.S. 50
Developers seeking $7.7 million in TIF payments
By Russ Pulley
A new grocery is proposed at the intersection of Todd George Parkway and U.S. 50, with the developers seeking incentives for building the project.
Ball Foods Co. and West Star Co. said improvements that will benefit the area and site problems justify tax-increment financing to reimburse the company so it makes a reasonable return on its investment.
“You’re not just helping us, you’re helping the neighborhood,” said Mike Christie of West Star.
One extra cost the TIF would cover is an enlarged detention basin to stop flooding of land and basements in the Silkwood Estates subdivision north of the project. The source of the flood water actually is south of the highway, but building a larger detention area would help prevent flooding, Christie said.
The proposal calls for construction of a Price Chopper at 1600 SE Blue Parkway and two pad sites for a sit-down restaurant and a bank. The development also would enlarge a sanitary sewer line off site to end sewer backups in homes and realign the outer road at Todd George.
The company would get about $7.7 million from the TIF and another $3.4 million from a community improvement district that would levy a half-cent sales tax. The city would get about $7.7 million to help pay for improvements for the Todd George interchange and a new Blackwell Road interchange. Lee’s Summit R-7 School District would get about $1.8 million from the TIF.
The developers assume the risk, borrowing money to finance the $15 million project and be repaid from TIF proceeds as they are collected. That’s instead of asking the city to sell bonds.
The Lee’s Summit Tax Increment Financing Commission this week approved a resolution to amend the TIF which was created by the city in 2007.
The commission held two hearings on the amendment and voted Jan. 8 to recommend its approval, which is to be heard by the City Council on Jan. 24. The Planning Commission also has recommended approval.
Deputy City Manager Brian Scott said the amendment facilitates development of land that originally had been planned as medical office buildings and retail.
When the TIF area was adopted by the city, it included four project areas, with Lee’s Summit Medical Center being the first major piece completed. The medical offices weren’t built and that land was foreclosed.
Among issues addressed by TIF Commissioners was the question of whether Ball Foods would commit to operating the current Price Chopper about one mile away from the site.
“How can we be comfortable the existing store won’t close in a couple of years?” asked Mike Atcheson, a TIF Commission member.
Mike Beal, of Ball Foods, said his company has other similar situations in the area, on the Kansas side, where it successfully runs stores within a mile of each other. He said its plan is to keep both sites open. But he said they couldn’t commit to longer than their lease ends in 2016 because they can’t guarantee they’d have that site.
Another question was whether sales at Todd George site would cut into the store farther west.
“We think this is a whole different market area,” said Curtis Holland, an attorney for the developers. “I’d think it would be very little.”
The proposed amendment to be considered by the council has provisions to reduce payments if the current Price Chopper closes before its lease is up in Dec. 2016.