Shawnee & Lenexa

Shawnee abates excise tax

To spark development, the Shawnee City Council voted in March to temporarily abate the city’s excise tax to stimulate development by reducing upfront costs.

As a result, a developer asked the city to abate $767,366 in excise taxes for a proposed 80-acre industrial park, Westlink Business Center, 43rd Street and Powell Drive. Airtex Inc. plans to construct 1.1 million square feet of speculative industrial space at the site.

The council voted unanimously Monday night to abate the excise taxes for Airtex Inc. The council also approved an 80 percent property tax abatement for the next 10 years on the site’s first building, a 160,000-square foot building planned closest to 43rd Street. The city's portion of the property tax abatement on the first building over the 10-year abatement period will be $486,000; however, developers will pay the city $202,000 in lieu of taxes.

The council also approved a resolution of intent to issue $9.5 million industrial revenue bonds for the project.

Airtex had acquired a portion of the property but it decided to acquire and develop the entire site once the excise tax was abated, said Andrew Nave, executive director of the Shawnee Economic Development Council. Previously, the city charged developers 21.5 cents per square foot when the property was platted.

“Speculative industrial is a huge area of need in Shawnee,” Nave said. “All of our buildings are full. If a company wants to expand that forces them to move out of the city.”

Nave said the company’s conceptual plan calls for the construction of seven buildings on the site. The resulting businesses could generate as many as 2,000 potential jobs, he added.

After the first building is leased, additional buildings will be constructed.

In other business, the council set May 28 as the date for a public hearing regarding establishing a tax increment financing district for a town home and commercial project on 30 acres of land at the northwest corner of Johnson Drive and Kansas 7.

Shawnee Associates LLC has proposed a public/private partnership for the redevelopment of 33.36 acres of land at the site. Two parcels of land with an abandoned car wash and convenience store/gas station have been unoccupied for at least two years. Due to steep topography and limited access, studies have indicated the area is unlikely to be redeveloped without public assistance.

Shawnee Associates plans to build 56 structures with 222 town homes on the site. Most buildings will feature four units in each structure. The development also will have an on-site pool, clubhouse and playground. Commercial development is proposed for about 3.5 acres of land at 55th Street and Kansas 7. About 30,000-square-feet of commercial space is proposed.

The total cost of the proposed redevelopment is $441.2 million. Shawnee Associates, LLC, is requesting $3.8 million in TIF funds.

The council also:

•  Held a public hearing regarding a fire-damaged structure at 5616 Richards Drive. The owner was given 30 days to obtain a building permit and 120 days to have the exterior of the home returned to building code standards.

• Approved easements for a future bicycle/pedestrian trail to cross under the BNSF railroad tracks east of Martindale and north of 75th Street.

• Approved final plans for Monticello Road from Johnson Drive to 66th Street, and approved an agreement with the Kansas Department of Transportation for project funding. The total cost is $1.8 million. KDOT will pay a maximum of $1.24 million and the city’s share will be $610,000.

• Approved final plans for improvements to Shawnee Mission Parkway from Flint to the city’s east limits. The cost is $600,000, which will be divided between Johnson County and Shawnee.

• Approved a $78,178 bid from Custom Lighting LLC for traffic signal maintenance and a $187,302 bid from Bryon Ohlmeier Construction for the city’s 2013 bridge repair program.