Two years after the Lee’s Summit City Council approved the Summit Orchards mixed-use development, a new developer is seeking financial incentives for a piece of it.
David Christie and Ferdinand Niemann of Christie Development Associates on Thursday presented a conceptual plan to the City Council to create a community improvement district on 17 acres at the northeast and northwest corners of Chipman and Ward roads.
If approved, the district would add a special 1 percent tax on all sales within that area for 25 years, generating $3.5 million to reimburse the developers for the cost of building internal roads and intersection improvements within the shopping center.
Christie and Niemann are proposing a $50 million development including more than 100,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space across 12 buildings.
They said the district would not include a proposed 22,000-square-foot grocery store currently planned along the northern edge of the site after the potential tenant objected to the extra tax.
Christie told the council that his group is purchasing the property for $6.5 million from Townsend Capital, one of three companies that gained approval for Summit Orchards in May 2016. Besides the commercial property, the other phases of the 47-acre development approved then included more than 300 multifamily units north of the planned shopping center and 155,000 square feet of office space.
Christie said that his company has committed tenants for most of the buildings and that creating the improvement district is one of the last main steps.
“It is critical that this incentive package gets approved, finds favor with you all so we can close the property in August and start construction,” he said.
Niemann said that once the development is completed it would generate almost $2 million in new property and sales taxes for the city and create more than 300 jobs.
The developers said they are looking at developing an additional 3.7 acres farther north on Ward Road but haven’t yet included it in the proposed improvement district because of environmental concerns with an adjacent pond.
The roads that would be built with the district sales taxes would remain privately owned by the development but be declared a public resource. That said, economic development counsel David Bushek said the city would want to negotiate some sort of arrangement providing revenue to maintain those roads after the district tax disappears after 25 years.
Besides roads and turning lanes, the district tax would reimburse the developers $109,680 for public/open space on the property, $500,000 for public art and $50,000 for signs.
One potential sticking point for the council was the developers’ wish to cut through the grassy median on Ward Road to provide better access from the main body of the development on the northeast to the 3.5 acres at the northwest corner of Ward and Chipman. That area was not part of the original development agreement for Summit Orchards and will eventually require city approval.
“I would exhaust all of your options with the city and any adjacent property owners to make that egress as safe as possible,” said Mayor Pro Tem Beto Lopez.
Mark Denning, assistant city manager, said staff would begin working with the developers on a formal request for the community improvement district, which would include a public hearing on the proposal in June.
Christie said that assuming the city creates the district on schedule, construction on the development would begin in September and take about 18 months.
In other business, the council gave preliminary approval to rezone almost four acres at 5261 Maybrook Road for a single-family home. The site currently is zoned for agricultural uses and features a baseball field, which neighbors claim was used by a former owner for organized practice and games that disrupted the neighborhood with added traffic and noise. The new owners said they would limit use of the field to their three sons and friends.
Opponents also said they were concerned about stormwater runoff from the site and planned use of a septic system, which they said would not work with a large number of visitors. Engineers have said studies indicate the septic system would work and are performing additional studies on better controlling stormwater on the site.
Council members voted to deny the proposal earlier this year but agreed to reconsider the issue after the landowners said they had additional information to provide.
A final vote on the rezoning will be held next month.
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