Mission countil vote moves planned 32-unit senior housing project forward

Outgoing Mission City Councilor Lawrence Andre said the old Neff Printing building is blighted, and welcomed the proposed senior housing development.
Outgoing Mission City Councilor Lawrence Andre said the old Neff Printing building is blighted, and welcomed the proposed senior housing development.

The Mission City Council on Wednesday voted to move forward with the sale of the city-owned former Neff Printing building at 7080 Martway, paving way for the creation of a 32-unit senior housing project on the site.

On a 6-1 vote, the council approved an agreement to sell the property for $283,500 to Brinshore Development, which already had a predevelopment agreement with the city for an affordable senior housing facility.

The city purchased the property for $280,000 in early 2012. Councilor Amy Miller, who cast the lone dissenting vote, made note that while the sales price may appear to cover the costs the city paid for the property, it doesn’t account for the nearly $50,000 in legal and permitting expenses related to the property that the city had incurred. Miller said after the meeting she thought the project was approved in haste, and that the city could face the prospect of needing to redevelop the parcel of land in just 15 or 20 years. Miller’s interpretation of a feasibility study conducted on the site is that the parcel is not conducive to development as presently situated, and that a better approach would have been to work with bordering property owners to see if there was a larger project that could have worked in the area.

“I’d rather we wait until Johnson Drive was complete and see if the other property owners in the area would be willing to work with us on developing something that was sustainable,” she said.

But the councilors who voted in favor of the project see it as a way to replace an abandoned, decaying building with a project that will fill a need for affordable senior housing.

“I’ve heard people say that they don’t think the city should be in the real estate business,” said councilor Lawrence Andre, who will be stepping down from his seat in April. “I don’t think this is being in the real estate business. I think this is taking a piece of blight and replacing it with positive development in our city’s core.”

The sale of the property to Brinshore is contingent on the developer receiving Low Income Housing Tax Credits from the Kansas Housing Resource Corporation. Should Brinshore receive the tax credits, construction is expected to begin in late 2014 or early 2015.