Development

North KC Council to consider $134 million development plan at former flour mill site

An artistic rendering depicts Driv, a golf driving range concept that’s the first planned component of a $134 million development proposed in North Kansas City.
An artistic rendering depicts Driv, a golf driving range concept that’s the first planned component of a $134 million development proposed in North Kansas City. Driv Enterprises

Rick Worner, a developer with National Realty Advisors in Leawood, has a $134 million plan to redevelop the site of a former flour mill in North Kansas City.

Worner attended the North Kansas City Council meeting Tuesday to present a financing plan for a 58-acre mixed-use development that would include hotels, restaurants, apartments and other attractions on vacant, city-owned property. It’s the type of plan North Kansas City officials had hoped for years would come to fruition.

“We’ve been working on this for a long time,” said Sara Copeland, community development director for North Kansas City.

Worner’s plans include two hotels comprising about 200 rooms, along with a conference center, a grocery store, 200 market-rate apartments, restaurants and other retail developments at the southeast corner of Armour Road and Interstate 29/35.

The first development Worner has teed up for the site is a golf driving range concept called Driv Golf Lounge & Brewhouse. Similar to Topgolf in Overland Park, the planned $35 million Driv attraction combines a high-tech driving range, where visitors hit golf balls that tell them how far and where their shots traveled, with casual dining and a microbrewery.

Worner’s partners on the Driv development are Driv Enterprises, of Los Angeles, and resort and theme park developer Thinkwell Group, also of Los Angeles.

Worner said he will pick developers to deliver the other components of his mixed-use plan.

“To be blunt, I will go identify these partners, bring them in and have the city approve each component,” Worner said.

His financing plan contemplates a combination of tax-increment financing, a community improvement district and using hotel transient guest taxes generated by the development’s lodging facilities. TIF captures new property and sales taxes generated by a project to pay for certain project costs. A CID charges an additional sales tax on purchases made within the development to pay for project costs.

Altogether, the public financing is expected to pay for $33 million of the $134 million total cost, with the rest coming from private debt and equity.

Tuesday’s meeting doesn’t commit the city to any of the public financing; those would come up for a vote at a later date.

Worner last year was selected as master developer for the city-owned property. The undeveloped property along a series of railroad tracks to the south was once home to an Archer Daniels Midland flour mill. The company closed the mill and sold the property to North Kansas City for nearly $11.3 million in 2012. The city spent another $1 million to demolish the mill that same year.

Steve Vockrodt: 816-234-4277, @st_vockrodt

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