TIF Commission endorses additional funding for Cerner’s Three Trails office project

07/16/2014 10:51 AM

07/16/2014 3:39 PM

The Tax Increment Financing Commission of Kansas City has approved a request from Cerner Corp. for additional city subsidies for the company’s massive Three Trails office project in south Kansas City.

The plan now advances to the Kansas City Council for final approval.

The commission on Tuesday reviewed Cerner’s revised plan that would add about $160 million to the overall budget for the development. The project would be built on the site of the former Bannister Mall east of Interstate 435 and generally north of Bannister Road.

The Cerner campus, to be built in phases over 10 years, would be the largest office development in the Kansas City area.

The total cost of the project is now estimated at about $4.5 billion, up from the previous estimate of $4.3 billion, said David Frantze, a lawyer with Stinson Leonard Street LLP who represents Cerner.

Cerner is seeking about $110.26 million in additional subsidies to help cover 50 acres added to the development that were not in the original plan, an employee health clinic, a conference and training facility, and a low-level parking garage, Frantze said. Cerner also made layout changes to scatter buildings and parking lots throughout the site, add green space and address stormwater runoff concerns.

With the additional assistance, the total amount of city and state public support sought by Cerner now stands at $1.75 billion. Of this amount, $774 million would come from city-related tax increment financing. The financing captures all new property taxes and half the economic activity taxes generated by the project for up to 23 years.

The TIF Commission unanimously approved this part of the package, along with Cerner’s request for additional assistance through a “super TIF.”

Cerner is also seeking financial assistance from the state of Missouri, which will be reviewed at a later date.

“We’re humbled by the overwhelming support Three Trails received from the community, and we’re pleased the project will turn a formerly blighted area into a regional economic engine,” said Kate O’Neill Rauber, a Cerner spokeswoman.

Frantze said he hopes the City Council will vote on the development plan in August. Assuming it is endorsed, Frantze said Cerner’s goal is to start grading and major excavation work later this year, with occupancy of the first building targeted by the end of 2016.

The development is expected to cover about 290 acres, with about 4.7 million square feet of building space. The project calls for some retail development, including restaurants, shops and a hotel.

Cerner said the development is now expected to house about 16,000 workers, up by about 1,000 from a previous estimate. Fast-growing Cerner now employs 9,000 in the area.

To reach Steve Rosen, call 816-234-4879 or send email to srosen@kcstar.com.

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