An Overland Park company is planning two sit-down restaurants in Lee’s Summit, but is asking the city for partial reimbursement for buying a $1.6-million building and tearing it down.
The multi-story former Bank of the West building at 740 N.W. Blue Parkway is obsolete, said Bob Johnson, an attorney representing Drake Development Company, and razing it makes room for the two restaurant sites.
“Imagine acquiring a property that is a decades old bank building that really can’t be adapted to any other development use,” Johnson said.
The City Council at its July 27 meeting heard Johnson and Drake President Matt Pennington present the company’s conceptual plan for the project, which includes a Community Improvement District (CID) that would have a special 1 cent sales tax. That’s on top of the area’s base sales tax of 7.85 cents, which includes Jackson County, state and other taxes.
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The council agreed it would consider the request, and the developer is to provide funds to the city for a study of the proposal before the council votes on the redevelopment.
It also gave final approval to a development plan and a CID that put a 1 cent special sales tax on the Pine Tree Plaza at Blue Parkway and Jefferson Street. That development will renovate a vacant Price Chopper for new tenants and upgrade the center’s façade.
The Drake project would bring two national-level chain restaurants to the site in a $12-million redevelopment project, Johnson said, noting the company has an agreement with one restaurant and is close to reaching a deal with the second.
The company spent about $2.3 million to buy two parcels of land, including the building, Johnson said.
The CID would cover the site only, so the tax is only paid by the restaurant customers, Johnson said. The developer isn’t asking for any tax-increment financing or other incentives.
An estimate of the incentive is about 11.4 percent of the entire project, Johnson said.
Under the proposal, Drake’s share of the building purchase would be $741,259 while the CID would repay $625,878 to the company. The CID would reimburse the company for the majority of demolition costs, at $547,122 of the 601,834 total.
Mark Dunning, assistant city manager of development and communications, said that because the CID would be on a blighted property, the sales tax can be used to help pay for the building and demolition.
He said the bank building could be considered blighted because of its age and position on the property.
“We’re trying to get to a level of green-field development,” Dunning said. He said that the company purchased the building and started letting leases expire for the last several months.
Councilman Rob Binney said he knows the developer will improve the site and the issue is about redevelopment.
“In today’s development world, the city needs to do what it can to make it a good playing field for our location,” Binney said. “My real stomach pain comes from the fact that we’re looking at directly reimbursing acquisition costs.”