Business

Heavily subsidized fast-food development in Argentine moves ahead

The Metropolitan tax increment financing district in Kansas City, Kan., which helped with the development of this Save-A-Lot store, was expanded to include a proposed fast-food development. The $3.3 million project would add Pizza Hut and Wendy’s to the Argentine neighborhood.
The Metropolitan tax increment financing district in Kansas City, Kan., which helped with the development of this Save-A-Lot store, was expanded to include a proposed fast-food development. The $3.3 million project would add Pizza Hut and Wendy’s to the Argentine neighborhood. jtoyoshiba@kcstar.com

A $3.3 million fast-food development consisting of a Wendy’s, Pizza Hut and Dunkin’ Donuts is now part of a tax increment financing district in the Argentine neighborhood in Kansas City, Kan.

The Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kan., Board of Commissioners at its Thursday meeting voted to expand the Metropolitan TIF district. The district now covers a Walmart Neighborhood Market and a Save-A-Lot store near Metropolitan Avenue and 18th Street Expressway and will expand to include the proposed fast-food project.

Thursday’s vote does not give final approval for the project, which is being developed by the Argentine Betterment Corp., a private nonprofit.

The $3.3 million project’s budget includes $141,123 of developer equity, good for 4 percent of the overall upfront project budget. The rest of the funding comes from public sources.

A $1.23 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is the largest single source of funds for the fast-food project. The grant was awarded to the Argentine Neighborhood Development Association. ANDA’s executive director is Unified Government Commissioner Ann Brandau-Murguia, who recused herself from voting on the TIF expansion.

TIF allows a development to capture new sales and property taxes generated by a project to reimburse developers for certain building costs. The Argentine project’s budget includes $1.14 million of TIF funds. An additional 1 percent sales tax from a community improvement district amounts to $302,894 of additional funding.

Finally, a Unified Government upfront cash contribution, which would be paid off over time, rounds out the remaining $500,000 of the project budget.

Micah King, executive director of the Argentine Betterment Corp., said the project would allow food delivery to Argentine residents.

“This will give people access to food that normally wouldn’t get it quickly,” he said.

Gloria Martinez, an Argentine resident, said she had reservations about the project because of low wages usually associated with fast-food restaurant jobs and that Wyandotte County ranks among the least healthy counties in Kansas.

Wyandotte County ranks second to last in Kansas in a health ranking system published by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Only Labette County fared worse.

“Don’t we deserve more in Argentine?” Martinez said.

The project now moves to a future vote on a final development plan.

Steve Vockrodt: 816-234-4277, @st_vockrodt

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