Monday, October 20, 2014

Commission to consider TIF district

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer | 6/30/2014

Nearly 16 acres of prime commercial-zoned land on Ottawa’s south side could receive incentives to spur new development and encourage redevelopment in one of the city’s most high-traffic areas.

Ottawa city commissioners are slated to consider the Princeton & 19th Street TIF Redevelopment District 7 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall, 101 S. Hickory St., Ottawa. The district would include an area from the point where Princeton Circle Drive and South Prince Street split — south of East 21st Terrace — continuing north to 19th Street. The redevelopment district — a mix of existing commercial property and land poised for commercial development — loosely forms an upside down triangle between well-traveled Princeton Circle Drive and South Princeton Street.

Nearly 16 acres of prime commercial-zoned land on Ottawa’s south side could receive incentives to spur new development and encourage redevelopment in one of the city’s most high-traffic areas.

Ottawa city commissioners are slated to consider the Princeton & 19th Street TIF Redevelopment District 7 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall, 101 S. Hickory St., Ottawa. The district would include an area from the point where Princeton Circle Drive and South Prince Street split — south of East 21st Terrace — continuing north to 19th Street. The redevelopment district — a mix of existing commercial property and land poised for commercial development — loosely forms an upside down triangle between well-traveled Princeton Circle Drive and South Princeton Street.

The commission has scheduled a public hearing to gather comments about the proposed Tax Increment Financing district during its 7 p.m. meeting Wednesday.

In a memo to the city commission and Richard Nienstedt, city manager, Wynndee Lee said The Princeton & 19th TIF Redevelopment District proposes redevelopment of commercial properties of approximately 15.5 acres together with necessary parking and appurtenances to be constructed in phases. TIF funds would be used to pay for eligible project expenses within the specific project area, Lee, the city’s director of planning and codes, said in the memo.

Tax Increment Financing is a special financial tool that can generate money for economic development in a specific geographic district, Lee said previously. TIFs are created by local municipal governments to provide incentives to lure private investment and help finance infrastructure improvements. TIFs work by capturing new property tax revenues from a specific area and re-investing those revenues in that area, Lee said.

Recent city-approved TIF projects include the Advantage Ford and Love’s Travel Stop developments, the later of which helped fund “the very high cost of putting in a sanitary sewer system” on the south side of I-35 to open future development in that area, city officials have said. Both the Advantage Ford and Love’s Travel Stop projects were within the same TIF district, Lee said Monday.

Anticipated work covered by the Princeton & 19th Street TIF proposal would include land acquisition, site preparation, street improvements including resurfacing, additional lanes, utility relocation and reinstallation as necessary, parking, landscaping, sidewalks and trail connections, Lee said.

“The District is comprised of a mixture of existing commercial uses that will likely be in transition as redevelopment opportunities become available with improved infrastructure and traffic,” Lee said in her memo. “North of this proposed district is additional commercial/retail uses, and to the west and south. To the east of this district is primarily residential with some lots redeveloped in the southeast [of the district] to commercial.”

NORTH DISTRICT

A 54,000-square-foot Price Chopper store is to be constructed in the northern portion of the proposed TIF district at 1921 Princeton Circle Drive. The supermarket — and ancillary retail space for small shops to adjoin the west side of the north-facing supermarket — would be constructed between Orscheln Farm & Home, 2008 S. Princeton St., Ottawa, and 19th Street, according to the site plan. Price Chopper and Orscheln would face back-to-back, with a deliver truck lane between them.

In addition to the retail space, the project would include a 320-space parking lot, landscaping, utility improvements, lighting, stormwater detention areas, and construction of 19th Street, between South Princeton Street and Princeton Circle Drive, city officials said. A portion of a triangular tract of land north of 19th Street would be used for a stormwater detention area, according to the site plan.

The new Price Chopper would be owned by the Queen family, which in April purchased Country Mart, 2138 S. Princeton Circle Drive. The Queen family converted the Country Mart space into a Price Chopper while waiting for the new store to be built. If all goes as scheduled, the family hopes to have the new store operational by next spring.

“Our goal would be to have it done a year from now,” Barry Queen said in early June.

The Queen family owns Price Chopper stores in Paola, Spring Hill, Bonner Springs and two locations in Overland Park, according to a Price Chopper news release. The facade of the Ottawa store would be a replica of the Queen’s store in Bonner Springs, project developers said at an Ottawa Planning Commission meeting in June.

SOUTH DISTRICT

The balance of the area is approximately 10.75 acres, Lee said in her memo.

“In the area to the south, there may be additional interior TIF eligible projects developed as platting and designs are developed,” Lee said. “This area has some potential for additional redevelopment and/or new construction due to the age of the buildings that are there and the amount of parking/green space area.

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