Yet another community improvement district and special sales tax are in the works, this time for the Uptown Theater and Valentine Shopping Center in midtown.
The Kansas City Council gave preliminary approval Thursday to a petition to establish the Uptown Community Improvement District, covering both sides of Valentine Road between Broadway and Pennsylvania Avenue. The CID allows for a 1-cent sales tax for 20 years at the theater, Hamburger Mary’s and at the Valentine Shopping Center.
An ordinance to establish the special taxing district goes to the council’s Planning, Zoning and Economic Development Committee on Wednesday. If approved, the tax could take effect next April.
The sales tax, generating an estimated $100,000 annually, would help Larry Sells and other co-owners of the development with maintenance, landscaping, snow removal, security and upgrades. It would also help pay off lingering debt from $3.5 million in bonds the city issued in 1998 for the shopping center. Those bonds mature in April 2019, and the city has covered more than $2 million of that debt that it hopes to recoup.
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“The Uptown is a real asset,” Councilman Scott Taylor said Thursday, recalling that President Barack Obama wowed a packed crowd there with a speech in July 2014. “This will only enhance that.”
Councilwoman Katheryn Shields said the CID is an important tool to maintain these amenities for the community.
Sells said the Uptown is doing well, hosting as many as 200 events per year including major concerts, celebrity shows, parties and other special events. He insisted the shopping center is also on the rebound, although it remains only about 50 percent leased. He said the CID will provide revenues for public space improvements that can make the shopping center more appealing to new tenants and potential development partners.
Attorney Charles Renner said this CID is not being done in isolation but will complement the Broadway CID, approved in May. That district covers as running generally along both sides of Broadway Boulevard from 36th Street to Westport Road, with branches extending on 39th Street between Southwest Trafficway and Wyandotte Street and on Westport Road from Broadway to Baltimore Avenue. Those Broadway CID revenues will be invested in beautification, security and ambassadors, similar to the Main Street and Downtown CIDs. Sells said his group will coordinate with the Broadway CID officers on security, and a small security office will be provided at no cost at the shopping center.