First Washington set to pitch Prairie Village council on redevelopment of Corinth Square South, may ask for financial assistance

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Representatives of First Washington Realty, the Bethesda, Mary.-based company that purchased the Village Shops and Corinth Square in 2014, will appear before the Prairie Village City Council on Monday to present a concept for redeveloping part of Corinth Square South — an may float the idea of asking for additional public finance incentives, according to a memo in the city council packet.

“The purpose of the presentation is to introduce the City Council to the project and to gauge the Council’s interest in entering into more formal discussions with First Washington about the size, scope and cost of the project and any additional financial assistance that would be requested,” writes interim city administrator Wes Jordan in the memorandum. “The higher cost of redeveloping an existing shopping center, the associated parking structure, and infrastructure may prohibit the project moving forward without additional financial assistance by the City.”

Corinth Square South, which includes the buildings that house First Watch, the Mission Road Antique Mall, Tide Cleaners and Panera, is already part of the community improvement district approved by the city council in 2010, meaning patrons pay a 1 percent sales tax on purchases at businesses in those buildings with the proceeds going to reimburse the property owner for improvements to the center.

Under the Corinth CID, the developer would be eligible for reimbursements for project costs associated with the demolition of the First Watch and Mission Road Antique Mall buildings. The construction of new buildings on those sites would also be eligible for CID funds.

On Monday, representatives of First Washington and members of their design team are expected to present a conceptual overview of their proposal for Corinth Square South. Jordan says in the memo that “Through staff’s discussions with First Washington over the last few months, we understand that the project will be funded in part by proceeds of the existing community improvement district along with significant private investment by First Washington.”

The out-of-town ownership got off to a rocky start with the city after longtime tenants complained about increased communal area maintenance fees and other issues, but the relationship seemed to have largely stabilized when First Washington appeared before the council last fall for an annual update. Since then, however, the Village and Corinth have seen a handful of high-profile tenants — longtime Village stores Tiffany Town, Bruce Smith Drugs and Spangler’s along with Fleet Feet Sports, and Corinth’s Sole Patch and the Wild Bird Center — announce their exit from the centers.

However, First Washington has been able to land a handful of replacement tenants. A new restaurant will open in the Bruce Smith space later this year (Bruce Smith’s pharmacy operations eventually transitioned over to the Village Shops Hen House). Dottie’s Southern Chic Boot-ique opened in the Wild Bird Center space last fall. And Health House, a rowing-focused fitness studio, will open in the former Tiffany Town space this fall.

The First Washington presentation is scheduled as the first item in the Council Committee of the Whole meeting that starts at 6 p.m. Monday.

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