Archive for Thursday, August 11, 2005

WYCO refinances Village West bonds

August 11, 2005

Unified Government of Wyandotte County recently announced that it has completed a major refinancing -- $264 million worth, to be exact -- of STAR bonds used to construct the Village West shopping and entertainment district.

County officials said the refinancing takes advantage of lower interest rates and allows the STAR bonds to be paid off eight years earlier than originally anticipated.

It will save more than $44 million in interest payments, county officials said.

STAR bonds are paid back with sales tax revenue generated by the Village West businesses and the quicker bonds are paid off, the sooner local governments can keep those revenues.

The early pay off is estimated to generate $50 million in new revenue for the state and an additional $13 million in new sales tax revenue for Wyandotte County.

Howard Fricke, Kansas Secretary of Commerce, and Joane Wagnon, Secretary of Revenue, reviewed and approved the refinancing deal before the bonds were sold.

"This is truly a transaction in the best interest of both parties and we thank you for your efforts in moving the transaction forward," said Robert North, chief attorney for the Kansas Department of Commerce in a letter to Unified Government officials.

Investors in the national municipal bond market purchased the bonds.

A number of fund managers toured Village West in July to get a first hand look at the development before recommending their clients to invest.

Apparently, they liked what they saw.

While there were only $264 million worth of bonds to sell, investors lined up with $1.5 billion in orders.

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