Lenexa approves 1% community improvement district sales tax for City Center office, restaurant project

A rendering of the office-restaurant building approved as part of the project.

The Lenexa City Council unanimously approved a community improvement district (CID) for roughly 2.7 acres of City Center at the southwest corner of the future Scarborough Street and Renner Boulevard for a new, 20,000-square-foot mixed-used building, private streets, parking facilities and other related improvements.

The council approved the CID at its meeting last week and approved a development agreement with AC Lenexa City Center LLC after a required public hearing, at which no one spoke. AC Lenexa and CCL 2 LLC are the property’s owners, according to a memo to the council from Assistant City Attorney Sean McLaughlin. Copaken Brooks Commercial Real Estate is the project’s developer.

The CID will provide for a 1-percent sales tax within the district for 22 years, to start around July 2019. The tax is estimated to yield nearly $3.2 million to reimburse AC Lenexa City Center for eligible expenses for the building and related improvements.

The building will house a restaurant and bank on the first floor and offices on the second floor, with each floor containing 10,000 square feet. Construction is planned to be completed in May 2019.

The CID encompasses a larger project, which the council approved the final plan for at its March 6 meeting. The project and its CID also include two additional buildings: one containing 7,500 square feet, which will house two restaurants, and another containing 6,500 square feet, which house three restaurants. A construction timeline hasn’t been set for these two buildings.

The CID for the entire project is estimated to generate nearly $7 million to reimburse the developer for eligible expenses, McLaughlin said Monday.

At the council’s March 6 meeting, Ward 4 Councilman Andy Huckaba said that, based on architectural renderings, the buildings “felt a little boxy” and “a little like any other pad site that might be out there in Johnson County, and I want to make sure that people can see, especially in this pretty incredible entry point into City Center, that it’s something pretty special.” The project’s architectural firm is Klover Architects.

Ward 2 Councilman Thomas Nolte said at that meeting that he wanted to take a look at the project from “a historical perspective” of the whole City Center development.

“I was totally sold on the concept of City Center because of the imagery that those early drawings provided us to think about and bring you into an awareness that we can do this,” Nolte said.

He described the project’s early drawings as depicting Federal-style architecture with “an enduring nature” and said the council subsequently shifted to a more contemporary look.

Nolte praised the project’s site design, though, as “forward-thinking,” including planning of the project’s phases, putting parking areas below grade, increasing density in the corridor and moving restaurants closer to the business district.

He said he was “truly looking for something unique at the end of the street that serves our retail corridor and mixed-use area, and I’m totally looking for something that is a little bit more wow power on that point.”