The owners of Corinth Square South in Prairie Village are expected to request more public financing for a planned redevelopment of the shopping center at 83rd Street and Mission Road.
Representatives for Bethesda, Md.-based First Washington Realty Inc. presented a conceptual plan of the redevelopment to members of the City Council on Monday.
In the proposal, the company would demolish the L-shaped building on the west side of the property, which currently houses the Mission Road Antique Mall, the First Watch restaurant and two smaller tenants. First Washington wants to replace it with three buildings, including two smaller strips of retail spaces and a three-story central building that will contain retail on the ground floor and two floors of office space above that. That building would be connected to a multistory parking garage behind it.
Company vice president Gregory Zike said the shopping center, which the company bought in 2015, lacks adequate parking. He and other company officials said the new plan would provide that parking, make the shopping center more walkable and attract a mix of retail tenants weighted toward locally owned stores and locally owned franchisees of regional and national chains.
The presentation lacked financial details, such as how much the project would cost or how much city investment would be needed.
Mayor Laura Wassmer, who said she met with the developers about the project in recent months, said parking garages are expensive to build and generally require public assistance.
“If you want this redeveloped, it needs a parking garage, and they probably can’t do that without some help from the city,” Wassmer said.
Some council members objected to the idea of additional public financing, given that First Washington, which bought the shopping center in 2014, already receives revenue from a special 1 percent community improvement district sales tax levied on both parts of Corinth Square and earmarked for redevelopment expenses.
“I do not support public financing for a private developer,” said Councilwoman Jori Nelson, who also said she opposed demolishing the 1930s-era antique mall building.
Alex Nyhan, managing director for First Washington, said the revenues from the sales tax and the retail operations wouldn’t support building the project. He said the company has provided confidential financial records to the city’s financial adviser, Jeff White, and suggested the council consult with him before making a decision to work further on the project.
“If people don’t want us to invest in this community, we are going to move on,” Nyhan said.
Wassmer also recommended asking the developers and White for more details, saying she thought the project could ultimately increase property and sales tax revenues.
“I would not have suggested that they come before the council if I looked at the numbers and said, ‘Boy, this is really a bad deal for the city,’ ” she said.
Other council members expressed reservations about the proposal’s design, the shift of shopping away from brick-and-mortar stores to online retailers and the absence of four other council members at the meeting, but the majority ultimately said they were interested in receiving additional details on the project.
In other business:
▪ The council voted 6-1 to adopt the 2018 budget, which has a maximum spending limit of $45.3 million, a 26 percent increase over the current budget of $35.9 million. The majority of the spending increase is for additional stormwater and road projects, a 12.7 percent increase in the city’s police pension contribution, increases in health care costs and city employee salary adjustments following a compensation and benefits study completed earlier this year.
General fund spending, which covers most city operations, increases 9 percent to $22.9 million while the city’s mill levy remains level at 19.471 mills. A mill is $1 of tax for every $1,000 of assessed property value.
Councilman Dan Runion, who voted against passing the budget, said the city should slow down its spending given the significant increases in property and sales tax collections. He also objected to the city’s putting into the general capital improvement fund $400,000 in extra bond debt it raised to buy streetlights, meaning the money could now be used for unrelated projects, such as demolition of the Faith Lutheran Church on 67th Street for a future park.
“To take that money and use it for a park, I think, sets a very bad precedent,” he said.
▪ The council voted unanimously to appoint Wes Jordan to serve as the new city administrator. He has overseen city operations as interim city administrator since former City Administrator Quinn Bennion stepped down last month.
Jordan, who has served 29 years with Prairie Village, including seven years as its police chief, will receive about $134,000, representing a 25 percent raise from his previous salary of around $107,000.
▪ Council members also heard from a number of residents living along 68th Terrace, 68th Street and Mission Road about damage resulting from Brush Creek flooding during torrential storms this past weekend.
Residents showed photos of swamped cars and extensive damage from water and sludge entering their basements, destroying appliances, water heaters and family mementos.
Wassmer said the city would investigate the problem and look for better ways to manage stormwater in the area, likely partnering with Mission Hills and other communities both upstream and downstream.
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