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Heavily subsidized Argentine fast food deal a no-go after land deal falls through

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

An 11th hour discovery has scuttled — for now — a proposed deal to build a Wendy’s and Pizza Hut in Kansas City, Kan.,’s Argentine community, one that has attracted attention for the level of public subsidy it seeks.

A committee of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kan., was set to discuss the fast-food project at Metropolitan Avenue at its Monday meeting, but county officials said they learned that the land for the project is no longer available.

Unified Government administrator Doug Bach told the Economic Development & Finance Standing Committee that an option to acquire the property for the development from the Kansas Department of Transportation had expired, a realization discovered by the UG on Monday just hours before the committee meeting.

KDOT also told the Unified Government that it was launching a study of the 18th Street Expressway, which means it could not discuss the possibility of renewing a purchase option on the three acres near Metropolitan Avenue and 21st Street until August 2019.

The $2 million project seeks a number of government grants and tax subsidies. Unified Government staff has recommended against its approval because it says the project has no private sector investment, something its developer, Argentine Betterment Corp., disputes.

Unified Government documents indicate that public financing of the project amounts to $1.8 million of the $2 million project, covering all costs except a developer and legal fees, as well as real estate commissions.

Ann Brandau-Murguia, a 3rd District Unified Government Commissioner who supports the project and has assigned a $600,000 U.S. Health and Human Services grant to ABC, lamented the “political shenanigans” that have held up the project for two years. She said she would call the Kansas governor about the situation.

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