Overland Park approves creation of tax increment financing district for Avenue 82 office project

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

An office redevelopment for the area around Gabler’s Nursery moved forward this week with the approval of a tax increment financing district for the Avenue 82 project.

EPC Real Estate first submitted plans for the Avenue 82 project earlier this year. EPC, which is also the developer behind the Mission Trails project on Johnson Drive in Mission, also led the Avenue 80 and Avenue 81 projects to the north of this project site.

Overland Park city council members Monday unanimously approved the creation of a special taxing district after a public hearing at which no one voiced an objection. The set-up of a district is one of several steps in the process of getting public financing. It does not commit the city to accepting the final plan.

The project encompasses the nursery, a vacant lot and two single-family houses on the northeast corner of Metcalf Avenue and 82nd Street. It does not include the site of the former Mac’s 66 gas station, which is slated to become a coffee shop.

Developer EPC Real Estate Group proposes to build a four-story office building in the project, which will cost $20.7 million. They have asked to use 90 percent of the expected increase in property taxes caused by the development within the district to pay $5.8 million of development costs.

There will be no retail, so the developer has not asked for additional sales tax in the area, said lawyer John Petersen, representing EPC.

Avenue 82 is part of a series of “avenue” projects bringing office, senior living and apartments to that area of downtown. Petersen said his clients want to create a walkable area that fits with the downtown vision. “We’re working hand in glove to make that corner look cool,” he said.

If approved, Avenue 82 will be the second Class A office space in the works for downtown. The Edison project, which also got council approval Monday night, is the first.

“Our economic development council keeps telling us that we need prime office space. This is going to provide that,” said Councilmember Paul Lyons.