OP project is way behind schedule. Delay means downtown frustrations will continue

The Market Lofts at 80th and Marty streets in downtown Overland Park was supposed to be finished July 31 but is far from complete.
The Market Lofts at 80th and Marty streets in downtown Overland Park was supposed to be finished July 31 but is far from complete.

One of downtown Overland Park’s urban-design developments is way behind schedule and faces a penalty on its economic incentives from the city as a result.

The Market Lofts project, at the northwest corner of 80th and Marty streets, was supposed to open late last year, with 36 apartment units, 5,700 square feet of retail and an underground parking garage.

But when it became clear that it wouldn’t meet that target, the City Council on Dec. 4 approved a change to the agreement with developer Paul Goehausen. It stipulated that if the project wasn’t finished by July 31, the tax incentive cap would be reduced by 10 percent, or more than $100,000.

It’s now obvious to anyone driving by on 80th Street that the project will not be done by the July 31 deadline. The exterior still isn’t fully enclosed and the interior is far from complete.

“He had a deadline. He’s going to miss the deadline,” City Councilman David White, chairman of the council’s finance committee, said Wednesday.

White said the lengthy construction delay on the project has been extremely frustrating for city officials, and the council was serious when it imposed the penalty clause for further delays.

“At this point, we have no intention of waiving it,” he said of the penalty, which reduces the maximum tax-increment-financing reimbursement by $118,593, to $1,067,332.

Goehausen said Wednesday he was aware of the penalty and he seemed resigned to it.

“We didn’t make the deadline. We lose a percentage of our TIF,” he said. “We’ll get by.”

He said the project was delayed for six months over utility easement discussions.

“We had difficulties getting utility companies with the city to agree on easements,” he said. Complicating matters, the utility crews that were supposed to bury the utility lines were then sent to Texas and Florida last fall to help out with hurricane relief there.

The general contractor, Merriam-based 2Point Construction, has also been behind schedule.

“They’re learning a lot and I’m learning a lot,” Goehausen said. “We’re getting close.”

He said the roof work starts Monday, and progress should pick up after that.

“In a perfect world, after the roof is on, it’s probably 100 days,” he said. “Toward the end of the year we should be finished up.”

Some residents and merchants have grumbled for months about construction disruptions to motorists, pedestrians and shoppers from multiple new downtown projects.

In addition to the Market Lofts, work is also underway just across 80th Street at The Vue, a $49 million, 219-unit Hunt Midwest project. The Vue is on schedule for a late December opening.

Construction is also slated to begin this fall on the $53.8 million Edison District mixed-use project at the southwest corner of 80th and Marty streets.

The Market Lofts is being built adjacent to the Overland Park Farmers’ Market, but city spokesman Sean Reilly said the construction has not hindered market operations.

Goehausen said the city had asked that crews not do exterior work on Wednesdays and Saturdays when the market is in operation. So that slowed some outdoor work, although crews have worked throughout the week on the interior.

He said he is confident the project will get done.

“I think it’s going to be the nicest building in downtown Overland Park,” he said, “and I’m looking forward to getting it completed.”

Big new developments are on the drawing boards for Johnson County in 2018. Here are key projects to follow. Brookridge rendering from Curtin Property Co. Mission Trails rendering from Klover Architects.