By Roxie Hammill
Overland Park city officials are moving ahead with a proposal to redevelop the now-closed Ramada Inn at Shawnee Mission Parkway and Metcalf Avenue, in part because razing it will remove an “eyesore” from the corner.
City council members of the council’s Finance, Administration and Economic Development committee asked staff to prepare public financing agreements for later review and a public hearing that could be as early as March 19.
“It has been nasty place for a long, long time, and to see this development – I encourage it. I love it,” said council member Terry Happer-Scheier.
Dave White, chairman of the committee, agreed. “It’s an eyesore. It’s an embarrassment. It costs us city assets,” he said of the area on the northwest corner of the intersection. City Manager Bill Ebel said the site would continue to use police and code enforcement resources if it stays as is.
The Metcalf Crossing development proposed by Sky Real Estate would bulldoze the hotel and turn the 5 acre-area into a multi-use development with another hotel, retail and restaurants and a self-storage facility.
Attorney Korb Maxwell, representing the developer, promised the next hotel would be “an incredibly reputable brand,” of high quality and that the storage site and other buildings would have aesthetically pleasing architecture.
The $39 million project comes with a request for some public financing. The developer has asked for tax increment financing and a community improvement district to help with some of the development costs, and that is what the city staff will explore further.
The TIF request is for $2.96 million reimbursement that will primarily go to up-front costs of land acquisition, demolition and site preparation. The community improvement district would include a special taxing district with a 1 percent sales tax to pay for utilities and construction interest.
Maxwell told the committee that the project will benefit taxing jurisdictions with increased revenue. He estimated that $39 million in taxes will flow to the districts during the TIF period because of redevelopment, and Overland Park would get about a $10 million share of that. Without redevelopment, the area generates about $1.75 million in revenue, Maxwell said.
The city and developer will hammer out the finer details before bringing the package back to the committee and eventually the full city council for consideration.
Although some council members at the meeting were lukewarm on the types of businesses proposed for the site, they liked it better than the alternative of doing nothing.
Council member Rick Collins pointed out that the intersection is a northern gateway to Overland Park and encouraged the developer to come up with a pleasing design.
White added that new development at the intersection might become a catalyst for much-needed update of the entire Shawnee Mission Parkway corridor.
“Sure, I’d like the Taj Mahal there, but we’re not going to get that,” White said.