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Old 12-06-2007, 07:23 AM   Topic Starter
BigRedChief BigRedChief is offline
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Bannister Mall: the new home of the Wizards. Watch KC screw this up.

KC will screw this up. They had Bass Pro ready to go in abut they didn't want to give them TIF. Just what tax revenue are they getting now from that area? It's a wasteland.


Funkhouser opposes Super TIF for Bannister Mall redevelopment

The Kansas City Star Kansas City Mayor Mark Funkhouser said Wednesday that he opposed extraordinary tax breaks to help the Bannister Mall area redevelopment plan — incentives that backers say are vital for success.“It’s a wonderful project. I’m ready to sign off,” Funkhouser said at a development forum where he made a public appearance early in the day. “But I can’t stomach 23 years of Super TIF.”

Funkhouser later elaborated in a statement saying that while he was “excited” about the prospect of redeveloping the vacant mall property in south Kansas City, he wouldn’t support the $43.5 million in Super Tax Increment Financing being requested as part of the package to help finance the development.
Under Super TIF, all rather than just part of the local taxes generated by a project are diverted to help defray eligible costs.

The ambitious Three Trails redevelopment proposal, valued at almost $1 billion when fully built over 10 years, calls for a mixed-use development anchored by a new stadium for the Wizards professional soccer team. It would include a 12-field tournament-style soccer complex; a 250-room hotel; 609,000 square feet of retail space; and 610,500 square feet of office space.

The developers are seeking $273.3 million through a variety of local and state tax incentives to help finance the project.

“I want to see the Three Trails redevelopment happen,” Funkhouser said. “But I don’t intend to support the current plan without more thorough discussion and, at least, the removal of the Super TIF requirement, which redirects 100 percent of any new property, sales and earnings taxes back to the project.”

The development group backing the project, which includes top executives of Cerner Corp. and Lane4 Property Group, contends that Super TIF is needed to fill a financial gap for the project.

It remains unclear what effect Funkhouser’s position with have on the development group’s pursuit of the project at the Bannister Mall site. The developers have sought a decision by the Kansas City Council by the end of December to meet a construction timetable that calls for the soccer stadium to be open by spring 2010.
Project backers, who have considered alternative sites elsewhere in the area, could not be reached for comment after Funkhouser’s statement.

Besides the use of Super TIF, Funkhouser also objects to the plan’s provision that the city own the soccer stadium, saying it would require long-term expense and attention.

“The construction of the city-owned Sprint Center required a new tax and public vote, yet we are considering this plan with neither,” Funkhouser said in his statement. “I want to be sure we have thought through that decision and its fiscal impact on the city.”
The mayor’s announcement threw a new twist into a discussion that already had gotten off to a poor start earlier in the day.

At a meeting of the council’s Finance and Audit Committee, at which dozens of people testified, most favored the project. But Chairwoman Deb Hermann postponed a recommendation on the project after becoming frustrated by widely differing economic impact estimates submitted to her panel.

The city’s Finance Department issued an analysis indicating that the city would have a $41 million negative impact over the 23-year life of the project’s proposed financing. An analysis by the Economic Development Corp., in contrast, indicated a $45 million net benefit over the same period.
Both groups use different ways of evaluating the economics, and Hermann decided to seek additional time to sort out the issue.

Her committee has one more meeting scheduled before the end of the year.

“You just can’t give me a scenario with an $86 million swing,” Hermann said. “I’m not a financial expert. That’s why we have a Finance Department.”

Further complicating matters, Councilman John Sharp, a strong supporter of the Three Trails project, said Funkhouser had received a letter from state officials stating that any state aid for the project was contingent on the city’s granting the Super TIF assistance.

The project seeks $20.7 million in state tax-increment financing and $10 million in state tax credits.
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