Senior project in limbo; demolition of Neff building gets backing on Mission council

Outgoing Mission City Councilor Lawrence Andre said the old Neff Printing building is blighted, and welcomed the proposed senior housing development.
The old Neff Printing building is blighted, Mission councilors suggested, and needs to be demolished even before a deal is made on redevelopment.

While the fate of a planned 32-unit affordable senior housing project for Mission is not yet determined, it is likely that the old Neff Printing building at the west end of Martway will be torn down in the coming months.

Brinshore Development has proposed the senior apartments at 7080 Martway near Panera, but the project was contingent on receiving low income housing tax credits from the Kansas Housing Resource Corporation. The project, now called Herald Corner, ranked 19th of the 51 projects submitted to the state agency this year. A total of 17 projects received funding.

Mission’s Community Development Director Martin Rivarola told the council that it is common for projects to be funded in their second year of consideration and that city staff believes it is worth staying with Brinshore to make another attempt at getting the project funded next year.

Councilor Dave Shepard said he would “love to see the project develop” but did not want to wait for a year to see something happen with the property. “I am not interested in another 12 months with it looking like that,” Shepard said. The choices laid before the council are to allow the contract with Brinshore to automatically extend for another year to July 2015, renegotiate the contract, or cancel the contract and restart the process of finding a buyer for the land, which the city currently owns.

Shepard suggested a new agreement with Brinshore that might extend their exclusivity in exchange for helping the city demolish the building. The cost of demolition and asbestos abatement was estimated at $110,000. Some other councilors seemed to agree that the building needs to be razed, but were not committed to extending an exclusive deal with Brinshore.

Councilor Amy Miller agreed with getting rid of the “blight” by removing the building and suggested the city budget for the demolition but leave the property open for anyone else to show an interest in developing. An earlier study said the size and location of the property made it unsuitable for many kinds of development without being able to acquire some adjoining land.