Overland Park requests ‘right of first offer’ to buy French Market property if Shamrock doesn’t complete office project

The French Market property at 95th Street and Metcalf has been vacant for several years.

The Shamrock Trading Corporation has every intention of building all three office buildings on the site of Overland Park’s former French Market. But if for some reason that doesn’t happen, the city gets the first chance to buy what’s left undeveloped.

The “right of first offer” is part of a redevelopment agreement that also includes up to $39.7 million in tax increment financing for the 76-acre site at 95th Street and Metcalf Avenue. City council members will consider the package after a public hearing at their Feb. 4 meeting.

Before Shamrock announced plans to expand from its operations across the street, the site had reportedly been among places being considered for a new city hall in the next 10 or 15 years.

The agreement worked out between Shamrock and city staff would allow the city to be first to find out that the undeveloped land is for sale. The city would have 15 days to decide whether to make an offer.

However the company has been growing fast enough that officials there fully expect all three office buildings to be filled, Shamrock Chief Financial Officer Ken Bowman told a city council committee Wednesday. If the current growth rate continues, he said, the first building will be full within four years, and the third building by the end of the decade.

The public financing agreement under consideration covers all three buildings but would not hold the corporation in default if all three aren’t built. However there would be less tax increment financing money available if fewer than three are built. The first building, of 275,000 square feet plus 1,000 parking spots, would be completed by the end of 2021. If Shamrock only finished that much of the project, it would have as much as $23 million in TIF money available. Two buildings and parking would get $35.4 million and three buildings, $39.7 million.

“No one can predict the future,” City Manager Bill Ebel told the committee. Although the corporation is committed to erecting all three office buildings, “there are protections for both of us should something happen.”

The deal entails a 100 percent capture of the increment that would be caused by increasing property values, with 85 percent of that going to the developer and 15 percent to the city for improvements along Metcalf.

Shamrock would also agree to add at least 400 new jobs in four years that pay at least $56,000, and 1,000 new jobs be the end of 12 years. Failure to meet those requirements could result in the loss of some of that tax revenue.

The company would also get economic development revenue bonds to reduce sales tax on construction and materials.

Shamrock officials have said they intend to keep using their current building on the across from the French Market.