Archive for Thursday, August 14, 2003

City looks at new distribution center

August 14, 2003

Basehor city officials are sharpening their pencils and counting their pennies as they add up the costs and incentives needed to recruit a multi-million dollar distribution center.

The company considering Basehor as a location is unknown to city or county officials and details of the operation are limited. The Wadley-Donovan Group, a national location consulting firm, contacted Leavenworth Area Development seeking possible locations for the business and Basehor fits some of the criteria.

On Monday, Aug. 11, representatives from Leavenworth Area Development, the Leavenworth County Commission and Basehor City Council met to discuss the possibility of adding the business to the city. Materials prepared by the Wadley-Donovan Group referred to the prospect with the code name of "Project Rhino."

LAD director Bill Schulte said the company pursuing a possible Basehor location imports a large number of products and is "a major national retailer."

According to information reviewed during the Monday afternoon meeting, the company pursuing the distribution and process center is looking for several site characteristics including a site size between 90 to 120 acres, direct or nearby access to an interstate highway, fully serviced with utilities and zoned industrial.

Officials involved in the business courtship made clear that Basehor is only one of several possible site locations -- sites in Nebraska, Iowa and Kentucky are also being considered.

Should the distribution and process center locate to Basehor, it would add 750 to 1,000 new jobs to the area at pay rates between $7.50 to $9 per hour.

Officials from all sides involved in the meeting said they favored adding the new business to Basehor.

"I see no real negatives," said Basehor mayor Joseph Scherer. County commissioners said they would support the city's pursuit of the business.

"It's really not up to us; what you need is an agreement from us that we're not going to fight you on this," said county commissioner Don Navinsky. "We'll gladly work with you on this."

LAD and Basehor city officials said they would send a response to the company this week informing them of potential benefits of locating to Basehor.

One of those benefits could be a waiver of the city's excise tax in lieu of the business paying for its own street repair.The excise tax is a nine-cents per square foot fee applied to new development in Basehor.

On a 120-acre site, the business would pay approximately $470,000 in excise tax.

"That's a detractor if I was looking at it from their side," said county commission chairman Joe Daniels.

Under the excise tax ordinance, city officials can waive the fee if developers agree to fund street improvements to their development.

Another benefit offered by the city to the potential new businesses, is a five-year, 50 percent real estate tax abatement. Under its neighborhood revitalization ordinance, property improved more than 50 percent is eligible to receive the tax break.

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