Gateway groundbreaking marks two-year anniversary with no movement in sight

The Gateway property sits vacant and weed infested two years after the groundbreaking ceremony for the new retail and residential development. Some of the companies listed on the sign are now in litigation.

This week marked the two-year anniversary of the Gateway groundbreaking. And the site looks quite a bit like it did on the one-year anniversary – and on the day of the groundbreaking.

A few changes have been made in the two years since everyone lined up with hardhats and talked about the advantages of the project. For one, some of those folks in the shovel-turning photos are now in lawsuits with each other over unpaid bills. The city of Mission has imposed a $600,000 per year assessment on the Gateway developers to recoup a $12 million investment in stormwater fees. The city also occasionally needs to mow the weeds that have proliferated on the lot.

At least in the short term, Mission residents will likely kick in a bit more money to cover a shortfall in the stormwater debt. If the Gateway eventually pays its assessment, it will go a long way to covering that shortfall.

The original development agreement between the city and developer Tom Valenti runs until the end of this year, by which time construction was supposed to be substantially completed on the large retail center. Since that deadline obviously will be missed, an entirely new development agreement will have to be negotiated. That also means a new city council will need to consider whatever proposal Valenti’s company brings forward. That would include any public financial support. Last time the city agreed to support the project with $30 million in tax incentives.

The city says no new proposals have been received and Valenti has stated that he won’t come back with a plan until it is all worked out. The Gateway property is relatively the same size as the Village Shops or Corinth Square – which would mean a significant boost to the Mission tax base down the road.

In the meantime, Roeland Park continues to collect sales taxes from the Walmart which planned to move to Mission, devastating the Roeland Park sales tax base.