KC Council deems future Three Light apartment location blighted, offers tax abatements

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Council declared a downtown parking lot blighted Thursday that will one day be luxury apartments. That's the first step to giving tax breaks to a major developer.

The developing company Cordish has already built two high-rise apartment buildings, One Light and Two Light. Next, they want to add Three Light at 14th and Walnut.

There was some debate on the council over whether downtown has gotten so attractive that the city doesn't need to give incentives like tax abatements to new projects.

"I continue to believe that our city dollars should not be used in subsidizing luxury apartments in downtown Kansas City," Councilwoman Kathryn Shields said.

But the blight designation and associated tax abatements passed 8-4.

"Unless someone wants to take them in the backroom and try to get a little more out of somebody, I`m going to take it our staff didn't do a bad job getting more money," Mayor Pro-Tem Scott Wagner said.

The tax breaks means Kansas City Public Schools will lose out on $8 million in potential funding.

To make up for it, Cordish has agreed to find alternate funding sources, including charging ticket fees for concerts in the Power & Light District.

In March, the city council agreed to pay build a $17.5 parking garage for Cordish.