Thursday, March 3, 2011

Medical Office Slated for 150 Hwy

By Seann McAnally
A developer is poised to receive a 25-year tax abatement to build a medical office complex in Grandview.
LADCO, an Iowa-based developer, has requested a Chapter 353 tax abatement for the project, which would bring the Hickman Mills Clinic to 150 Hwy near Byars Road. The WIC clinic that is currently on the site will be torn down and replaced with a 20,000 square foot medical clinic.
According to city documents, the facility will be the new home of the Hickman Mills Clinic, which will move from South Kansas City. Eight doctors will have offices at the facility. Carondelet Health System will also have offices there, providing specialized medical services, and a pharmacy will round out the tenant list.
The Board of Aldermen held a public hearing Feb. 22 after extensive discussions about the project in work sessions. Board president Steve Dennis said he supported the project.
“I grew up getting shots and care in that clinic, and we’re thrilled they’re coming out here...to Grandview,” he said.
No members of the public spoke for or against the project at the board’s hearing. Sarah Copeland, city planner, said the board is expected to formally approve the project on March 8. In meetings, city staff and elected officials have spoken about the project in “when, not if” terms.
“This is going to be a great addition to the 150 Highway corridor,” Dennis said.
Developer Steve Bessenbacher said he expects traffic along the 150 Hwy corridor to increase with various improvements projects in the area, which will put the clinic “in a highly desirable location to capture traffic between south Lee’s Summit and Kansas.”
Alan Kenyon, director of economic development for Grandview, said the developer has made a verbal promise to help relocate the WIC clinic to another location that is convenient for Grandview residents, but acknowledged that part of the deal isn’t in writing.
Truman Medical Center, which operates the WIC program, was unable to comment by press time regarding where the Grandview WIC clinic might be relocated.
Encompass Medical Group, which operates the Hickman Mills Clinic, did not comment on the move.
The Planning Commission on Feb. 16 voted 5-1 to recommend approval of the project. Commissioner John Maloney voted against it, citing his discomfort with the terms of the tax abatement plan.
City officials said, however, that any taxes at all are better than what the city gets now for the land – nothing. Because of the WIC clinic, it is considered a charitable use and is currently tax exempt. LADCO will receive a Chapter 353 tax abatement for the project. The city and the developer have negotiated the following terms:
• 100 percent tax abatement on the increase in land value and improvements for 10 years;
• 50 percent tax abatement on the same through years 11-17;
• 25 percent abatement for years 18-20
• No abatement in years 21-25
Actually, a 50 percent abatement would technically continue for years 18-25, but the city is also requiring LADCO to pay the full amount in lieu of taxes over that time.
In return, LADCO will:
• By 2.5 acres of the 10-acre site. The remaining 7.5 acres are owned by Carondelet Health Systems, and is currently tax exempt.
• Tear down the existing building – formerly the southland’s Jackson County WIC clinic – and improve the property with a new 21,000 square foot medical office building.
• LADCO will require tenants to make and maintain a $355,000 investment in taxable furniture, fixtures, and equipment, which should result in $6,000 payments for each taxing jurisdiction in the area per year for the first 10 years of the abatement plan. If they fail to do this, they’ll have to pay these “lost” revenues to the city, who will distribute them to the taxing jurisdictions (such as the Mid-Continent Public Library, the Grandview C-4 School District, etc.).
• LADCO’s tenants will create and maintain at least 50 jobs with average wages of $60,000 per year.
• The tenants will provide an annual community health event.
The city hired consultants to review LADCO’s proposal, and according to city documents, find it acceptable and realistic in terms of its financial projections.
The consultants reported that the total abatement to the developer over the life of the program would be some $1.9 million; but payments in lieu of taxes should generate some $1.7 million.

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