The Lenexa City Council last week unanimously approved plans to hold a Nov. 6 public hearing to consider whether to approve a proposed reclamation tax-increment financing (TIF) project plan for the former Meritex strip mine in the Ridgeview Mining TIF District.
The TIF project plan pertains to about 38.7 acres south of Prairie Star Parkway, west of Britton Street, east of a future addition to Ridgeview Road and north of a future addition to 99th Street, according to a Tuesday memo to the council from Assistant City Attorney Sean McLaughlin.
The Meritex Co. bought the property in the mid-1990s after it had stopped functioning as a limestone mine, Senior Vice President Bill Seymour said in an interview. Meritex Lenexa LLC, a subsidiary of the company, is the project’s developer.
Meritex operates the Meritex Executive Park in part of the former limestone operation, which was mined between 1965 and 1988. The facility now includes around 2.5 million square feet of subsurface space that has been redeveloped into leased commercial and office space, with around 600 people working in the underground space every day. The entire underground space left by the limestone mining is 6 million square feet.
The project would involve only reclamation, not remediation, Seymour said, and it would prepare the site for possible future development, though no specific development plan is planned. The work is estimated to cost about $1.5 million and would include leveling ground on the site to prepare for construction of the additions to Ridgeview Road and 99th Street.
The developer wants to start the work as soon as possible and plans to finish it by next fall but probably sooner, he said. The developer would be eligible for reimbursement from the TIF increment of as much as $1.515 million in eligible costs. No public TIF-reimbursable costs are anticipated.
TIF is a public financing tool by which a developer of a blighted property is reimbursed for eligible development and infrastructure costs using the increment of new property or sales tax revenue generated by the development. Consideration is given to whether a development wouldn’t be financially feasible but for TIF.
The Lenexa Planning Commission said at its October meeting that the TIF project plan was consistent with the city’s comprehensive plan. City staff recommended approval of the resolution authorizing the Nov. 6 public hearing.