Mission Gateway's new $268 million proposal cleared its final hurdle. Will it actually get built?
Mission City Council gave its approval to a new redevelopment agreement for the long-stalled project, but construction won't start anytime soon. The lone dissenting council member said she's concerned about the developer's lack of funding.
The latest iteration of the $268 million Mission Gateway project is moving forward following a key vote Wednesday night.
Now the question is: will developers finally complete it?
The Mission City Council on Wednesday approved changes to the tax increment financing plan and Community Improvement District ordinances, as well as a final redevelopment agreement for the fifth version of the project.
With those hurdles now cleared, work could finally resume later this year on the site at the intersection of Johnson Drive, Shawnee Mission Parkway and Roe Avenue.
The ordinances approved Wednesday terminate a previous TIF project plan and CID and institute new ones.
The new agreement, which a city attorney said serves as a “roadmap” for the project, includes increasing a 1% special sales tax in the designated improvement district to 2%.
City Administrator Laura Smith told the Post the redevelopment agreement also shows the city will commit to issuing $18 to $22.5 million worth of special obligation TIF bonds for the project.
For work to start, Smith said the city must begin issuing special obligation bonds to help fund the project and developers, the New York-based Cameron Group, must secure the rest of the financing.
Smith said that it could be another three to six months before bonds are issued.
After that, the redevelopment agreement approved Wednesday requires the developer to resume construction within four months of the bond’s being issued.
The new agreement includes $3 million in escrow, $2 million to ensure taxes are paid and $1 million to ensure all timelines and milestones are met, Heaven said.
Mayor Sollie Flora noted there is also a “drop dead date” included in the new agreement that says all of phase one of the project needs to be complete within 46 months after bonds are issued.
Phase one includes the Cinergy entertainment center, apartments, retail spaces, a food hall and parking garage, some of which have already started to be built.
Councilmember Hillary Thomas cast the lone dissenting vote on each item Wednesday, saying she doesn’t think this is the right project for the site — and she’s concerned with the “lack of funding plan for phase two and incomplete funding for phase one.”
The others did vote for it, including Councilmember Debbie Kring, who has been on the council since 2005 when Mission Mall closed on the site Mission Gateway now hopes to occupy.
“It’s a solid project, it just needs to move forward,”Kring said. “We get frustrated by the timing, but committed-wise, I think we’re all on the same page and I’m hopeful we move forward and get this completed.”
Flora said she’s worked closely with city staff and advisors over the last year to ensure the city armed itself with the best information possible before making a decision on the project.
Flora detailed the ways the redevelopment agreement and financial plan protect the city as much as possible, and noted that Mission Gateway can’t move forward without public incentives.
“In my view, we’ve now created the conditions for the greatest likelihood of success as we are able given that this property has been, is and remains privately owned,” Flora said.
Bruce Kimmel, the city’s financial advisor, said the developers have given the city as much as they can — and he feels good that this is the right time to consider moving forward on the project.
This story was originally published on the Shawnee Mission Post.