Archive for Thursday, June 7, 2007

Council may OK agreement tonight

June 7, 2007

Potential tenants such as Lowe's, PetSmart, Best Buy, Kohl's, Borders Books, a movie theatre, grocery store, restaurants and athletic equipment or apparel retailers could fill Lansing's Towne Center, site developers say in an agreement up for approval at tonight's Lansing City Council meeting.

At the meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. at City Hall, 800 First Terrace, the council will be asked to take up three actions to complete preparations for the Lansing Towne Center Redevelopment District.

First, the council will reconvene a public hearing from May 24 to discuss the Redevelopment Project Plan for Towne Center's "South Project Area" and "North Project Area."

At the conclusion of the hearing, the council will consider adopting the plan.

Lastly, the council will be asked to approve a redevelopment agreement for Towne Center and authorize Mayor Kenneth Bernard to sign it on the city's behalf.

Agreement with the developer, Lansing Towne Center LLC, would launch the project.

The redevelopment district is a proposed 48.86 acre retail shopping center west of Kansas Highway 7 and currently occupied by various residential tenants and vacant land. The two retail centers north and south of Mary Street would become, as the agreement states, "a first-class shopping center."

Jess Davis, Lansing Towne Centre, LLC lead developer, said Lowe's Home Improvement, the district's anchor, is under contract. Negotiations with a Hy-Vee grocery store are still under way, he said, and developers are "in the process of talking" to a number of users with "more than a passing interest."

The development agreement includes an exhibit that proposes about 28 various potential retailers to fill market holes in the city, including several national, big-box retailers.

"We're trying to capture in the market a lot of people that aren't there presently, pretty much everybody," Davis said of national companies' presence, or lack of, in Lansing. "We hope in the next six to eight weeks to announce the users."

The estimated total for the project is $80.6 million, up from the $69.3 million estimate made in May.

The developer is seeking tax increment financing (TIF) and transportation development district (TDD) bonding from the city for the project. The development agreement commits the city to a "hard cap" of $19.115 million in funding to the project. Those funds would be paid through the TIF and TDD.

The TIF and TDD project tax revenue generated when the project is complete and how much tax revenue is currently generated in the area. The new tax dollars generated by the project are captured and set aside to pay for public infrastructure related to the project, such as at-grade parking, streets or groundwork produced by the city to facilitate the project.

A preliminary feasibility study of the plan indicated the project, when developed, would produce revenues sufficient to cover about $14 million of the eligible TIF costs. Of that amount, the developer is requesting $7.85 million be financed by the property tax increment and about $6.5 million in TDD bond funding supported by a 1/2 percent local sales tax generated within the district. The funds would be generated over a 20-year period, according to the agreement.

According to the agreement, before the city issues any TIF bonds or TDD bonds, developers have to show evidence that they have secured necessary private financing for the project, one or more national and/or regional retailers have signed an agreement to open a retail store of not less than 75,000 square feet within the project site; a building permit has been issued for each store; and the city is satisfied with feasibility study that demonstrates the TIF and or TDD revenues will be sufficient to market the TIF and/or TDD bonds.

The agreement calls for bond proceeds to be placed in escrow with a bond trustee and disbursed "from time to time" as eligible expenses are incurred.

The council would review a final feasibility study to consider issuance costs, reserves and capitalized interest, all of which could slightly increase the bond figures.

Here's tonight's council agenda:

¢ Review meeting minutes from May 17 and special meeting minutes from May 24.

¢ Steve Jack, executive director of Leavenworth County Development Corp., will present a quarterly update.

¢ A proclamation to recognize June 11-15 as "2007 Business Appreciation Week" will be considered.

¢ Laura Phillippi, site supervisor for the Lansing Historical Museum, will update the council on "Glimpses in Time: The Lansing Historical Museum Photograph Project."

¢ Ken Miller, project liaison, will give a monthly update on the Main Street Enhancement Project.

¢ Conduct a public hearing on the Towne Center Redevelopment District.

¢ Consider an ordinance authorizing adoption of the Towne Center Redevelopment Plan.

¢ Consider authorizing the mayor to execute a redevelopment agreement with Towne Center LLC for the Lansing Towne Center north and south project areas.

¢ Consider a bid award for the 2007 CIP paving, curb replacement and sidewalk repair.

¢ Consider an ordinance declaring De Soto Road and 147th Street as main trafficways.

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