KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Transportation, Infrastructure, and Operations committee had questions for developers last Wednesday who are looking to buy more land east of the police department headquarters in the East Village.
“So we signed a contract that says you have the option to buy, and we don’t have the option not to sell?” Councilman Kevin O’Neill said during the committee meeting.
“Correct,” Julia Taylor, partner at Dentons’ Real Estate, replied.
Taylor was joined by VanTrust Real Estate Kansas City Vice President Rich Muller that day. At some point, VanTrust would like to buy the city owned lots at 12th and Cherry to get it ready for redevelopment.
According to the city’s parcel viewer, VanTrust and Block 66 LLC, which Taylor represented Wednesday, already own the parcel just to the north of there at 11th and Cherry. They also own the lot just east of the city owned lot, at 11th and Holmes on the north and 12th and Holmes on the south.
“Now we’re getting to the point where we’re having conversations with end users who have an interest in being downtown,” Muller said to the committee Wednesday. “We are not able to put together a redevelopment plan until we know what land we actually own.”
Muller did not say downtown baseball during that part of the committee meeting but did say it later on in answering a question from O’Neill. Muller said he knows there’s a lot of speculation about the Royals building their new stadium in that area.
“But if that doesn’t come to pass,” Muller continued about a stadium going on the lots VanTrust owns.
“We still need to be able to execute on this initial mission here and that is to assemble this land with or without anything coming to East Village that’s been speculated. We do have a contract with the city that we want to be in a position to exercise irrespective of what happens with downtown baseball.”
Mayor Quinton Lucas talked about that recent committee meeting in an interview with FOX4 Tuesday.
“I think that people want to know is have the facts shot straight to them,” Lucas said.
Lucas chairs the transportation committee and questions the timing of this ordinance. He thinks there will be a downtown baseball stadium one day, and he wants more honest conversations about it.
“I am not one necessarily for incredibly lengthy discussions where everybody kind of knows what we’re talking about, but nobody’s being clear about it,” Lucas said. “I hope that we get to that point in our next discussion.”
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VanTrust is looking for City Manager Brian Platt to execute a deed on the property, but that ordinance was put on hold at last week’s meeting. It will be revisited again with that same committee Wednesday, April 12 at 9 a.m. at City Hall.