Developer asks Overland Park for $5.8 million in public financing for 4-story building on Gabler’s Nursery site

Developers are proposing a four-story office building on the site of the now-vacant Gabler’s Nursery property.

Developers of a four-story office and retail building proposed for the site of Gabler’s Nursery in Overland Park have asked for $5.8 million in public financing to pay for early stages of construction.

The city council will decide Monday whether to schedule a public hearing for the proposed Tax Increment Financing district for the project, known as Avenue 82.

A street level view of the proposed building.

They will also be asked to draw up an agreement for the developer to pay for the cost of analyzing the details of the financing plan and a request for economic development revenue bonds that would exempt about $7.3 million in certain equipment and materials in the project from sales tax. Those bonds are expected to save the developer $690,000 in taxes.

Avenue 82 is the latest in a series of “avenue” projects for downtown Overland Park. Avenue 80 brought multi-family residences, Avenue 81, senior living and Avenue 82 will bring the daytime workforce and office space the city has been seeking, said John Petersen, representing the developer.

The $20.7 million project on the northeast corner of Metcalf Avenue and 82nd Street is being developed by EPC Real Estate Group, which also has the Domain at City Center in Lenexa and the other two Avenue projects in its portfolio. The building would be the second Class A office space proposed for the downtown area, according to its TIF application. The first was the Edison project, which is still being reviewed by city officials.

The developer already has a letter of intent to lease two of the three floors of office space, according to the application. The tenant will “bring in the kind of work force we’re looking for in this area,” Petersen said, adding it is too early to name names.

Besides the nursery, the development area includes a vacant lot and three single-family homes. The developers are proposing a TIF agreement that captures 90 percent of the tax increment resulting from raised values in the area. Developers have also promised $1 million in unspecified “public improvements” and 80 parking spaces shared with the city to alleviate the tight parking conditions downtown. The project will have 225 parking spaces in all.

The area qualifies for tax increment financing under a new state rule because the buildings are all over 65 years old.

Construction on the project is expected to begin later this year through 2019, pending city approval.