Developers Want $12M in TIF Help for Proposed Plaza Hotel
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Perhaps blight, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder when it comes to the Victory Court Apartments.
According to the developers of a proposed Hyatt Hotel, the apartment complex near 46th Terrace and Pennsylvania – less than half-a-block from Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and the Country Club Plaza – are blighted, and now they are asking for $12 million in tax breaks from the city to help them build a 12-story hotel and office building.
“I’m really surprised they’re going to try and say these apartments are blighted,” said neighbor Mary Wegener, who is opposed to the hotel project. “Especially an area in the Plaza. If a private company feels that there’s an investment to be made, then they should go ahead and risk their capital and make it.”
According to the KCMO TIF Commission, the tax breaks “encourages development of blighted, substandard and economically underutilized areas that would not be developed without public asssistance.”
Attorney Doug Stone, who represents the developers for the proposed project, says that while the Plaza as a whole isn’t blighted, the Victory Court Apartments are.
“There are plenty of great neighborhoods that have pockets of blight throughout them,” said Stone.
Rick Hughes, president of the Kansas City Visitor and Convention Bureau, says that TIF money shouldn’t be used in the Plaza.
“We absolutely believe there should not be one iota of TIF,” said Hughes. “that’s a high volume area down there, and it should be able to stand on its own. If this developer can’t figure out how to do it without digging into super TIF and other instruments, then it probably should be a clear signal that the property shouldn’t happen in first place.”
Stone says that because the apartments are old and his project is expensive – approximately $80 million – it qualifies for TIF assistance.
“We haven’t had a chance to sit down with Rick (Hughes) and explain to him what justifies the TIF and we intend to do that,” said Stone, who added that the project will not go forward without TIF money.
The KCMO TIF Commission has agreed to hire consultants to study the proposed tax break for the Hyatt. Their report is due in two or three months. If the TIF Commission approves, then it would go to the KCMO City Council for final approval.
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