The Shawnee City Council on Monday night approved the creation of a tax-increment financing district and rezoning for the 37-acre Cobblestone Village mixed-use development northwest of 62nd Street and Pflumm Road.
The largely undeveloped tract is bordered by 62nd Street on the south, Pflumm Road on the east, the Shawnee Civic Center and Veterans Park property on the north and Widmer Road on the west. The developers, Qrivit LLC, propose to build an 80-unit assisted-living center surrounded by 73 “villa” homes, a 60,000-square-foot building combining office, retail and housing, three three-story apartment buildings and two commercial buildings. A handful of homes now bordering Pflumm Road will be torn down to make way for the project.
The city’s first TIF, or tax-increment financing, district was established on the same plot of land in 2008. A different developer had made a similar, mixed-use proposal at that time. Those plans, however, were scuttled by the intervening recession, and the TIF district was allowed to lapse. The action Monday was taken for the benefit of a new developer and is the city’s fourth such district.
TIF allows developers to keep the value of increased property taxes on land they improve.
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The city’s economic consultant, David MacGillivray of Springsted Inc., outlined the financial aspects of the deal for the council members. The project has an estimated total development cost of $63.5 million, he said. With TIF benefits of nearly $8 million accruing to the developer, Qrivit can expect a return of 7.37 percent on its investment, which MacGillivray said was in line with industry standards. MacGillivray said the Cobblestone development was financially feasible. It is expected to take seven years to be completed.
Three residents spoke in opposition to the creation of the TIF district.
Mary Grimm decried the destruction of wildlife habitat and urged the council to do its part to stem an alarming decline of bees and butterflies.
Valerie Sprout and Mike Ross expressed concerns over the increased traffic the development would generate at its main entrance, the uncontrolled intersection of 61st Street and Pflumm Road.
The council voted 7-1 to approve the TIF district and the rezoning, with only Mike Kemmling voting in opposition.
Afterward, Kemmling said he generally opposed TIF districts and shared the residents’ concerns about traffic.
Councilman Mickey Sandifer said he thought Cobblestone was a good project and that there was a need for housing directed at the 55-plus demographic of baby boomers.
“TIF is a tool that is available to cities to attract economic development,” Sandifer said. “I don’t like them, but if we don’t offer it, another city down the road will give it. If we want to be competitive, we have to do it. … For many years, Shawnee has been a bedroom community, and we are trying to get that turned around to support our tax base.”