The Unified Government's approach to economic development is not commonplace in every community and it is truly an asset. Working with multiple individuals, partners and organizations like the Wyandotte County Economic Development Council and Kansas City, KS Chamber of Commerce allows us to collaborate in way that furthers economic success throughout the county.
Indian Springs 2007
- Indian Springs Mall opened in 1971
- One of the largest indoor malls in the Midwest
- By 1977 Indian Springs was 8th in sales in the KC metro
- Sales declined in the late 1980s as competition grew and trends changed
- By 1997 Indian Springs had high vacancy and proposals for new uses proposed
- Indian Springs lost last anchor store in 2001
- In 2007 the Unified Government acquired Indian Springs for $8.4 million
- In 2014 the Unified Government Hired Lane4 Property Group Inc. to market the 50 acres site and develop proposals
- Unified Government demolished Indian Springs in 2016
- In Spring 2017 Lane 4 proposed and withdrew a “Flex Tech” project
2017 Site Plan
Demolished in 2016
Lane4 Property Group Inc., which was hired as the broker for the 50-acre mall site in 2014, proposed using 26 acres to create a flex/tech office and light industrial space. However, this development plan was not accepted by the community and the proposal was later scrapped by the Unified Government.
- Transit Center and Police Substation was constructed in 2013
- Indian Springs site cleared in 2016
- Lane 4 proposes Flex Tech office and industrial space on 26 acres of the 50-acre site (Plan Scrapped)
The Unified Government Commission unanimously approved an agreement to bring the American Royal to Wyandotte County.
The $165.4 million project is in a STAR bond district of 550 acres near 110th and Parallel Parkway. $80 million will be generated by sales tax revenue in the form of STAR bonds. $80- million in private contributions from the American Royal will pay for the rest, with $5.3 million from other sources.
The agreement gives the American Royal 18-months to secure financing and complete the development plan. Construction of the American Royal would start within 6 months of the STAR bond issuance. Core construction must then be finished within two years after that.
“This is about creating a bright new future for the American Royal and hanging a sign in Wyandotte County and hanging a sign in the state of Kansas that Kansas is open to agriculture, and we’re open for business,”
- Korb Maxwell, an attorney representing the American Royal.
The development agreement calls for:
- A 164,000-square-foot livestock expo arena with about 5,000 permanent seats and an additional 3,200 temporary seats for a variety of events.
- A 250,000-square-foot livestock exhibition hall, including pens for 2,000 animals, for events including a 10-day livestock show each October, and for other events.
- About 5,000 square feet of office space, including a headquarters for the corporate offices of the American Royal.
- A 6,500-square-foot Agricultural Education Center featuring exhibits, an interactive museum-based learning environment, and meeting and a professional training space.
- Additional land for potential future construction of an agricultural headquarters facility and expansion, with retail and restaurant use possible.
The American Royal has been in KCMO for more than 100 years and is well known for its annual rodeo and livestock show, as well as a barbecue competition.
- April 27th, 2017 - Board of Commissioners adopted Resolution R-18-17 which set a public hearing date of June 15th, 2017, to consider the project plan for the Northwest Speedway STAR Bond District and Associated American Royal project.
- June 15th, 2017 - Conducted public hearing to consider the Northwest Speedway STAR Bond District Project Plan. Hearing was held and closed. Commission action on project plan to be considered at a later date.
STAR Bond Process
- R-78-16, adopted 10/27/16, set Public Hearing to consider the creation of STAR District
- O-75-16, adopted 12/15/16, created STAR District
- Conformance Finding made 4/10/17 by Planning Commission
- R-18-17, adopted 4/20/17, set Public Hearing to consider proposed Project Plan
- 6/16/17 Public hearing held and closed to consider plan
Board of Commission Approval
- Approved Project Plan and Development Agreement on Thursday, October 26, 2017
Northwest Speedway STAR Bond District
Sources & Uses
Public Funding Sources
- STAR Bonds
- Community Improvement District (CID)
- Industrial Revenue Bonds (IRB)
The Project Site
Approximately 550 acres generally located at the southwest and northeast corners of North 110th Street and Parallel Parkway.
Development Agreement(PDF, 2MB)
- 18-month due diligence period (secure financing & finalize development plan).
- Construction of Royal to commence within (6) months of bond closing.
- American Royal must achieve substantial completion within (2) years of bond closing.
Commissioners, Harold Johnson, Tom Burroughs, Melissa Bynum and Brian McKiernan break ground on new apartments during ceremony on June 7, 2019
For the first time in (30) years, new apartments are being built downtown. The BLVD Lofts broke ground in June on a 50-unit complex at 8th and Washington. The apartments will feature a community garden and kitchen.
Of the 50 units, (38) will be one- and two-bedroom lofts, and (12) will be sixplexes. Rent ranges from $500 to $1,500, with most going for between $500 and $1,000.
“I see this project — and my district, in particular, as it relates to Wyandotte County — really providing that strong housing component that’s necessary to build up a downtown component, much like we see over in Kansas City, Mo.,” said Commissioner Harold Johnson.
Johnson said the community’s response has been “phenomenal,” with some residents already taking the plunge and preregistering for a unit. Proximity to thoroughfares and neighborhood schools, such as Sumner Academy, drove the choice for the lofts’ location.
The Prairie Fire Development Group which is building the BLVD Lofts is also planning to redevelop the former YMCA building at 900 N 8th Street.
The Y Lofts project proposes to redevelop the YMCA building into 44 senior residential units, for persons 55 and older. The Y Lofts renovation project is estimated at $8.9-million. When completed, there would be 29 one-bedroom, one-bath units with estimated rents of $355 to $700, and 15 two-bedroom, one-bath units at $430 to $900 per month rent.
Mayor David Alvey says downtown KCK offers affordability, accessibility and authenticity.
“If you go down to Central Avenue and you see the number of people who come to Splitlog Coffee or to Slap’s BBQ, you begin to see this is a really vibrant place, and we like being here,” Alvey said. “It’s comfortable. It’s authentic. And that’s really what we have to offer: a real sense of authenticity.”
Today, the Unified Government (UG) came one step closer to bringing a new full-service grocery store to downtown Kansas City, KS. Officials from the UG and The Merc Co+op, invited the community to celebrate the groundbreaking at 5th and Minnesota Ave.
Several state, county, local officials and residents all gathered on the east end of the parking lot to be part of this important milestone and ongoing effort to mitigate food access challenges in KCK.
“It took a long time and a lot of hard work to make this new grocery store a reality, and we are thankful to have such great partners in The Merc Co+op. We know they will deliver high quality, fresh products at a good price point and they will provide top notch management,” said Doug Bach, Unified Government County Administrator.
“I am excited for the opening of The Merc Co+op in our downtown. So many people from our neighborhoods, from the co-op’s team, and from the Unified Government worked several years to get this project to a sustainable place,” said Unified Government Mayor/CEO, David Alvey. “I look forward to shopping at The Merc Co+op and I look forward to the services that it will bring to our downtown neighborhoods.”
“Downtown KCK and the surrounding neighborhoods have been without a grocery store for far too long, but after years of effort by countless people, the UG is excited to see this project come to fruition,” said Katherine Carttar, Director of Economic Development for the Unified Government.
“All residents of Wyandotte County – no matter where they live – deserve to have access to quality, affordable food, but sadly that is not the reality for many in our community. The groundbreaking of The Merc Co+op is a positive first step in ending the food desert in our area, and I’m glad to see community leaders partnering with community members and local businesses to achieve that goal,” said U.S. Congresswoman Sharice Davids.
The Merc Co+op is a community-owned cooperative business with (45) years of experience operating a grocery store. They are committed to building relationships through outreach, employing local residents with livable wages and benefits, and seeking feedback from the KCK community.
“Our unique business model puts the needs of community members first. The vision is to create a welcoming, multi-cultural urban market, offering a variety of products that include conventional, local and organic choices,” said Rita York Hennecke, General Manager of The Merc Co+op. “Everyone is welcome to shop at the co-op and anyone can become an owner.”
Dr. Nozella Brown, K-State Research and Extension County Director, says this co-op model will provide a unique space in the county for community engagement and education.
“Our role at KSRE is to provide education that is accessible, relevant and empowering for all citizens. I’m excited to have another venue where community members can access educational resources that will allow them to improve their health and quality of life,” said Dr. Brown.
K-State Extension partnered with The Merc Co+op to facilitate over a dozen listening sessions to receive input on the products and programs that residents, community agencies and surrounding churches want the co-op to offer. In addition, the Unified Government hosted two public meetings to gather input on the proposed architectural design options. Over 350 people provided their feedback.
This project is made possible by a public-private partnership that is likely to help bring additional investment into the area. The (3) year management agreement requires the co-op to pay property taxes, utilities, and includes hours of operation, services, community benefits and financial structure.
“The store not only helps provide a desperately wanted community need, but also brings a much-needed retail presence that will attract thousands of patrons every day to Downtown KCK,” said Jason Norbury, Executive Director of the Downtown Shareholders. “Further, the grocery store will, combined with the influx of new employees to the area, help invigorate the east end of Downtown and provide an anchor for future development.”
The approximately $7 million project is being funded through the Hotel Revenue Fund at $3.2 million and $1.6 million from sales tax and property tax from the Downtown Grocery Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District, which was approved by the Commission on August 30, 2018 to recoup expenditures.
The Unified Government was able to leverage other financing tools due to the grocery store’s location within a limited food access area. With the assistance of Sunflower Development Group, the UG received New Market Tax Credits allocated by the Central Bank of Kansas City that net nearly $1 million in proceeds. The federal tax credit program provides an incentive to invest in distressed Census tracts, giving investors a tax credit to offset their federal income tax. Additionally, Greater Kansas City Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) provided low-cost capital to complete the financing of the project with access to Healthy Food Financing Initiative funding and the purchase of $1.42 million in General Obligation Bonds issued by the Unified Government.
“We are proud to be a part of The Merc Co+op project along with the other stakeholders. We know how important sustainable food is to the health of our communities. CBKC looks forward to downtown KCK progress with the opening of The Merc Co+op,” said Bill Dana, President/CEO of Central Bank of Kansas City.
Bach adds, “We know that KU hospital has invested over $60 million right across the street and because of this grocery store we are talking with other developers about future projects nearby. It took the commitment of our mayor and commission to make this happen and I know they expect my staff to keep working to make this area thrive.”
Plans for a $155-million logistics and distribution center at I-70 and the Turner Diagonal are moving forward.
The complex of up to eight warehouses will be constructed north of I-70 and a newly designed Turner Diagonal interchange. When completed, the Turner Logistics Center will have one-million square feet of industrial space, which could grow to as much as 2.7-million square feet in the future. It is expected to create 1,800 new jobs.
The Turner Diagonal, with its looping on and off ramps, will be rebuilt as a diverging diamond interchange giving direct access in all directions to I-70 and opening up hundreds of acres which are now landlocked and undevelopable.
Construction of the new interchange will cost $30-million, paid with a $13.8-million federal BUILD Grant, $7.5-million in local funding and millions more in funding from the Kansas Department of Transportation. The investment in the commerce center is $125-million.
NorthPoint Development will build the logistics center. NorthPoint currently has 11.7-million square feet in industrial space leased with another 13.3-million under construction, including several buildings in the KCK Fairfax Industrial Area.
Design work on the interchange and first warehouse will begin later this year and is expected to be completed in the Spring of 2020.
This information is currently under construction.
This information is under construction.
This information is currently under construction.