Thursday, September 26, 2013

RED Updates Grandview Aldermen on Truman's Marketplace

By Mary Wilson
The Grandview Board of Aldermen heard from developers of the shopping center formerly known as Truman Corners at their work session on Tuesday, September 17.  A change in the name of the development from Truman’s Landing to Truman’s Marketplace occurred previously, and last spring, a transfer agreement was completed naming RED Legacy as the developer of the project.

According to attorney Joe Lauber, serving as special counsel for tax increment and economic development financing, the total project cost was originally $91.3 million. That total overall cost has dropped to $83.4 million. The developer’s portion of costs has dropped from $38.6 million down to $28.2 million. The third-party portion went from $11.3 million up to $15.4 million.

“What’s really going on there, is since the time of the TIF plan originally through to this point, the major anchor store that was originally part of the development would be acquired by the developer, and in turn be built by the
developer and then leased or sold back to the major anchor store. In this case, the major anchor store is going to take care of that part of the development on their own, so you’ll see that shift from developer costs to third party costs.”

The final component of that would be the public financing portion, which went from $41.3 million down to $39.4 million. There was a project added to the development plans, with a total of thirteen projects slated. The primary plan, with the developer redeveloping the major anchor store area, included the portion of the land that Milberger’s Pest Control sits on. Because the major anchor store will be developing their own site, RED Legacy doesn’t need to expand into that portion of the project right away, and created a project 13.

“At this point in time, we’re not sure that it will even be necessary. We’re putting that in a holding pattern. The projected completion date for that portion of the project, “Project 13,” is 2020.”

The bulk of the development, however, is slated to be finished by 2015. According to Lauber, the public financing portion of the development is on the high side when compared to other developments in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

“The more critical a development is to a city, the more likely it is that the city will participate more,” said Lauber. “Here we’ve got a situation where this is a gateway project for the city. This is a priority for the city to get redeveloped and to remediate the blight that’s out there.”

With Sam’s Club leaving Grandview next month, the city and developers are aware of the large sales tax hole that will be created. With this significant reduction in revenues, plans need to be in place to compensate for the loss. The original RED Legacy plan entailed the entire shopping center being demolished and redeveloped from the ground up. The revised plan that developers presented to the Board of Aldermen last week included a remodel, rather than a
brand new facility, for the Price Chopper store currently located in the center, as well as updates to other current tenants. Everything south of the current grocery store will be demolished.

“We really would appreciate the grocery store being bigger,” said Ward 2 Alderman Leonard Jones. “That’s the downside. The same footprint is a tougher pill to swallow.”

RED Legacy Vice President of Development and Design Bart Lowen spoke to the board regarding the developer’s changes to the original proposal, as well as their plans to move forward to begin implementation of the design. According to Lowen, the entire property, aside from one outer parcel, is under RED Legacy contract.

“All the things that we need to do in order to get the private side financing lined up, which allows us to get the public side of financing, we’re getting close,” said Lowen.

RED Legacy was able to secure the commitmentnof the major anchor tenant store. This store will be doing their own building, on the current Sam’s Club property.

“We did everything in our power to keep Sam’s at the site,” said Dan Lowe, CCIM, Managing Partner of RED Legacy. “It became clear early on that they weren’t going to stay, but frankly, it becomes a bigger win for us. Overall, the things that were causing the most tension in this project have become some of the things that have turned out the best so far.”

The newest site plan is primarily the same lineup of retailers as before. The only major change is the fact that Price Chopper, along with a few other current tenants, will be staying in their locations. Those that are staying will see significant fa├žade improvements, as well as interior design improvements, when the project is complete.

Senior Vice President of Leasing for RED Legacy Joanna Shawver has been responsible for tenant agreements for the new development. According to Shawver, there are only two spaces in the center that are not committed, which is fairly common for a shopping center of this size. All other spaces are currently in active negotiation with RED Legacy to open in the fall of 2014.

“By active negotiation, I mean those talking about a letter of intent, an active letter of intent, or are fully committed and going through the process of the lease,” said Shawver. “Well over ninety-five percent of the spaces are spoken
for, or we’re having serious conversations about them.”

Since RED Legacy attended the International Shopping Centers Convention in May, this project has taken off, according to Shawver. A lot of store names previously discussed are coming to fruition.

“You’re going to have a major pet store,” said Shawver. “You’re going to have a major shoe store that’s not in the market. You’re going to have a variety of apparel stores that are not presently in Grandview, South Kansas City,
are not in Belton, and not in Raymore. You’re going to have an art supply store.”

Some food establishments currently lined up include a deli, coffee shop, and Mexican restaurant. RED Legacy is also working with full-service, sit-down restaurants, such as a steakhouse, or Italian restaurant, for the pad sites.

“The momentum that we started is really panning  out,” said Shawver. “We’re excited about the new tenants,
and we’re thrilled to retain some tenants that are already here.”

The commitment from a large discount retailer for the major anchor of the project, according to Shawver, has greatly impacted the commitments from other smaller retail stores who are known to surround themselves around that major anchor. The major tweak to the initial RED proposal is the closing on the land. The prior contract stated that RED Legacy had to close on the land in order to issue the bonds. RED Legacy asked the board last week to allow that to happen simultaneously.


  1. What is not mentioned in this article, was that there was public opposition to this plan. Jan Martinette, Representative Joe Runions and I had reservations about the plan and were given an opportunity to express them. While I respect the freedom of the press to report the news as they see fit, I don't think that they are doing a service to the readers of the Advocate by leaving out the fact that there is an opposing viewpoint to this proposed plan.

    What the public needs to be made aware of, is that there is 39 million dollars of public money at risk if we continue to move forward with this plan. The City of Grandview is going to have more to lose if this development does not succeed than the developer. RED Legacy is putting 28 million dollars into Truman's Marketplace. While I appreciate the investment that RED is making in this community, I am staunchly opposed to the level of public financing that is being funneled into this. How many other projects out there had more public dollars than private going into it? If you take into account that our fair city has a 27 million dollar budget, and that they are preparing to borrow more than that to finance a very risky project.

    I appreciate the rock and the hard place that our city is in with the loss of Sam's Club. This is a huge blow to our revenue that Truman's Marketplace has grand plans to replace. The problem is that if revenue doesn't meet projections, like so many of the other TIF plans in the metro area have fallen short, it is us, the taxpayers that end up footing the bill, both financially and in services that the City would not be able to afford any more.

    Last night a CID was created that has the potential to impose a sales tax of up to 1% and the decision making authority was given to RED. This CID is set to expire in 40 years. Apparently this was done at the behest of the developer in their negotiations.

    I am asking for more involvement from the public in the upcoming meetings regarding Truman's Marketplace, both for and against. It is disheartening to see only a handful of concerned citizens show up for a meeting where the future of their city is being decided.

  2. I am curious what will happen to the historical markers and plaza which will be in the way of demolition? I hope they are salvaged and put in a proper place. I remember them being dedicated by Harry Truman on at least two occasions, one when the center opened and once later when it was upgraded.