The city of Merriam will add two new car dealerships to its existing seven in the area by 2020.
City council members July 24 unanimously approved the construction of an undisclosed car dealership at 7000 W. Frontage Road and an Audi dealership at 6601 E. Frontage Road in Merriam.
The undisclosed dealership will be funded with up to $6 million in tax increment financing (TIF) and is slated to open by July 2020.
The project, known as the Merriam Pointe Redevelopment Project Plan, would include a two-story, 45,000-square foot building and 231 parking spaces. The vacant land, which would be transformed into a 176,000-square-foot lot, needs extensive work for development, including enclosing and filling in Quail Creek — which runs through the area — as well as leveling the uneven ground.
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“The simple fact is that that parcel today is a drainage parcel and it assesses at the county appraiser at zero, meaning it makes no money for anyone,” said City Administrator Chris Engel. “By partnering through the use of TIF with the developer, we will within six years turn that into a revenue-producing parcel.”
Applicant Richard Webb, owner of the Infiniti of Kansas City dealership at 6960 W. Frontage Road, as well as the property where the new dealership will be developed, would be reimbursed $1 million upon grand opening and another $1 million after the dealership is open for one year. The remaining $4 million would be reimbursed over time as the dealership generates property tax income.
Dave Christie and David Block of Merriam Investors will oversee the construction of the project. The proposed dealership, located just south of the Infiniti dealership, will mirror the Infiniti building in design.
Engel said the project would create 54 full-time jobs and one part-time job in Merriam. The city estimates the dealership would generate about $380,000 a year in sales tax in Merriam over a 10-year average.
“It’s going to continue to generate more sales tax revenue for the city, the county and for the state of Kansas,” Councilman Brian Knaff said. “It’s a win for everybody involved.”
Merriam’s new car dealerships include Lexus, Infiniti, Hyundai, Toyota, Kia, Chevrolet, and Nissan.
The proposed 26,000-square-foot Audi dealership would occupy what is currently a Quality Inn and a multiple-tenant office building owned by neighboring World Gym.
Applicant Holman Automotive, a private dealership group that sells brands like Infiniti, Bentley and Audi, is in the process of purchasing the Quality Inn and the southern portion of the office space. Once purchased, Holman Automotive would demolish the two buildings, repurposing the northern portion of the old office building into a parking lot for World Gym and using the remaining land for the new dealership. According to agreement, World Gym — located at 6501 E. Frontage Road — would ultimately assume ownership of the northern parking lot.
The Gravity Company, a construction firm based out of Dallas that specializes in automotive design, is overseeing development of the dealership.
The project will incur no cost to Merriam residents, said Community Development Director Bryan Dyer. Instead, the owner would assume all costs associated with the construction of the dealership.
City officials said the area where development will take place was long overdue for physical improvements.
“Both of those buildings up there have served their purpose and done an excellent job, but they are both getting outdated,” Dyer said.
“The properties that we are redeveloping there definitely needed to be redone,” said Councilwoman Christine Evans Hands. “They’re antiquated and have been really run down.”
In addition to visual improvements to the area, residents will also reap the benefits of tax dollars generated from the project, Dyer added.
The Audi dealership is slated to open in April 2018.