The slow-moving Market Lofts project in downtown Overland Park is finally making some progress. Even so, it’s unlikely the apartment and retail development at the corner of 80th Street and Marty Street will be substantially complete before mid-May, city leaders were told Wednesday.
However the general contractor, Brian Brookbank of Brookbank and Sons, promised to go all out to get sidewalks ready for foot traffic by April 1 to minimize the construction impact on the next Farmer’s Market season.
Members of a city council committee heard an update on the $9.2 million project after developer Paul Goehausen failed to make the December 31 deadline required for tax increment financing. Market Lofts had already been penalized last August for missing an earlier deadline, a rare occurrence in the city’s development history.
In the past, council members haven’t hidden their frustration by the slow work and disruption to downtown, especially as the big Edison project was set to get started. Last month, when it became apparent another deadline would be missed, some began to discuss whether additional penalties should be added.
Goehausen originally would have gotten $1.18 million in tax increment financing revenue to help with development costs, but he lost $118,000 of that last year due to the missed deadline. At the time council members sternly warned him that more penalties were coming if the next one was missed.
They set up deadlines for December 31 and February 1 which, if both missed, would have brought the projects TIF revenue down to $771,000. But Wednesday, the committee decided to wait until its February meeting before taking any further action, due in part to the progress being made by the new contractor.
Brookbank, who took over in October, told council members the job was more than some subcontractors were used to. At one point only two to four people were working on the site, he said. But now that they are regularly being paid, attendance has increased to 35 or 45 people, he said.
Lyons also said much more is going on inside the building than meets the eye on the exterior. And a lot of the outside brick work also has been done.
The added time plus other increased costs will add to the overall project cost substantially, Brookbank told the committee, and Goehausen has had to get additional financing.
“From what I’ve seen, Paul’s working awful hard,” Brookbank said. “I feel like he’s done everything he can.” Subcontractors now get prompt pay and he is committed to going to extra expense to get the work done, even it if means heating the ground rather than waiting for warmer weather, he said.
“So that’s Brian making a plea for mercy for Paul if he can have some,” Brookbank said.
Goehausen was not at the meeting.
The committee adjourned to executive session so members could talk with their lawyer about it. When they came back out, Chairman Dave White said the committee would defer action until its February meeting.