July 14, 2014

Lee’s Summit OKs tax subsidies for Summit Place

The Summit Place shopping center, near Interstate 470 and U.S. 50, will be near SummitWoods Crossing and Summit Fair, two other RED Development projects.

RED Development will get the $18.5 million in tax subsidies it had sought for Summit Place, a $73 million shopping center it wants to build near U.S. 50 and Interstate 470 in Lee’s Summit.

With Bob Johnson, Derek Holland and Dave Mosby dissenting, the Lee’s Summit City Council last week approved an $11 million tax-increment-financing contract with RED. The remainder of the funds will come from an additional sales tax imposed in the area.

The council also changed the zoning to permit construction. The votes essentially mean the city has approved the project.

Summit Place will be near SummitWoods Crossing and Summit Fair, also developed by RED.

As they have in the past, the dissenters criticized the amount of the subsidy, contending the city shouldn’t help the developer with certain costs, such as building stores.

Holland said City Manager Steve Arbo “failed miserably” in negotiating the contract.

But Arbo said that given the realities of the retail market, the subsidy RED requested is necessary.

“If I truly believed they needed less than $18.5 million, I would have tried to get there,” Arbo said.

Holland and Mosby also griped that the anchor tenant for Summit Place is to be a Sam’s Club. They said the city should have a higher standard for that piece of real estate.

But council member Diane Forte said she shops at Sam’s Club and would prefer to spend her money in Lee’s Summit instead of driving to Belton. She said other residents would, too.

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