Overland Park Council rejects STAR bond, TIF requests for $1.8 billion development

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - If a developer is going to build a $1.8 billion project at 103rd and Antioch, they will have to do it without public money.

Overland Park's Committee of the Whole rejected requests Monday for $20 million in tax-increment financing and $60 million in STAR bonds for phase one of the project.

Neighbors opposing the 140-acre redevelopment of Brookridge Golf and Country Club held up signs throughout the meeting saying "vote no." Plans called for turning it into 5 million-square-feet of office space, apartments, shops, restaurants and a hotel .

“They are all quite upset because of the increase in traffic. You are going to see 58,000 cars a day on Antioch, 43,000 cars a day on 103rd Street," Bob Miller said.

After four years of discussions, the City Council rezoned the area this summer, paving the way for the large development.

“No one is supporting my business. No one is supporting the business down the road. Why should we support a developer who should be a rich person and have the connections they need on a sound project to get their money?" Jan Marie said.

There were questions about what would happen if the development stalled.

“What if one apartment building is built and nothing else is built and we’ve already put in $20 million worth of streets?" Mayor Carl Gerlach asked.

There was also discussion about the virtually unheard of request for STAR bonds for what the developer called “business tourism.” The Kansas Department of Commerce has traditionally granted the bonds for projects like sports venues and concert halls, not projects centered around office space.

“There's considerable risk involved here,  but there’s also significant opportunity and reward if this works it out," Overland Park Councilman Paul Lyons said, urging other council members to move the project forward to scheduled public hearings in November and December.

The Committee of the Whole voted 8-4 against a public private partnership with Overland Park Development Group LLC.

“The question right now here is not whether this project is going to be successful or not, it is if it deserves tax dollars, public money, and the data is simply not there," Overland Park Councilman Faris Farasatti said.

Attorney John Petersen, representing the developer at the meeting, declined to comment on whether Monday's vote could impact planned groundbreaking in Spring 2019.