Decision on enlarging Crossroads Academy is delayed

03/12/2014 5:00 PM

03/12/2014 5:00 PM

Consideration of a plan by the Crossroads Academy to double the size of the downtown charter school so it can accommodate middle school students was delayed Wednesday by a city development agency.

The Kansas City Tax Increment Financing Commission postponed consideration of the school’s request for $5.5 million in TIF assistance until March 24. The delay was required because of a late amendment introduced to address objections to the proposal.

The 2-year-old charter school at 1015 Central St. is seeking the incentives to assist its plan to acquire and renovate an adjoining building at 1009 Central. The school has 230 students, kindergarten through fifth grade, and wants to add programs for middle school students next fall.

The proposal was initially heard by the TIF Commission in February, but a recommendation was delayed after representatives of Kansas City Public Schools, Jackson County and the Kansas City Public Library objected to the proposal to use TIF incentives.

In an effort to satisfy the school district, an amendment has been introduced that would exempt the school’s portion of the TIF revenues, but it was introduced too late to satisfy the public meeting notification requirement. Commissioners voted to push back the hearing.

Crossroads Academy officials said afterward the delay and the removal of the school revenues, known as payments in lieu of taxes, were not expected to disrupt their expansion plan. The Kansas City Council will have the final consideration on the proposal.

Also at the TIF meeting, the first step toward consideration of an incentive plan to assist a proposed $130 million expansion of the Burns & McDonnell headquarters campus on Ward Parkway was introduced. The commission voted to approve a funding agreement to begin a formal review of the concept.

The review is expected to determine whether the project would qualify for TIF assistance and if so, how much would be necessary.

Burns & Mac said the 450,000 square-foot addition proposed for the site of the former Beth Shalom Synagogue at 9400 Wornall Road is necessary to accommodate what the engineering firm anticipates as 2,100 additional employees over the next decade.

The project, however, is seeking public assistance becaus of the additional cost of demolishing the vacant synagogue building and improving drainage at the site. VanTrust Real Estate, the owner of the 17-acre Beth Shalom property, would jointly develop the project with Burns & Mac.

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