Overland Park council incentivizes Market Lofts developer to complete major work before Farmers Market opening

Work is progressing on the Market Lofts project in downtown Overland Park — but the building is still way behind schedule.

The developer of the Market Lofts project in downtown Overland Park may be able to get some of his promised tax increment financing money restored if he meets two new deadlines designed to get his construction workers out of the way of the Farmer’s Market.

Members of the city council’s finance committee okayed a plan Wednesday that would give developer Paul Goehausen until April 15 to have the exterior work and sidewalks done. The new deadline for final completion of the project is June 1.

If he misses those deadlines, he stands to lose even more of the money he had coming from a public financing deal with the city. But if he meets them, he can get back some of the revenue he’s already lost.

The Market Lofts project of 36 apartments at the corner of 80th Street and Marty Street is small by comparison to some others in Overland Park. But the delays and construction in the heart of downtown have brought it a lot of attention from irked city council members who last year began calling it an embarrassment.

However some of those feelings have thawed the past two months, as council members have taken tours to see the progress made since Goehausen switched contractors. He has vowed to take every means necessary to have the exterior work cleaned up before the Farmers Market opening April 20.

Original deal would have netted developer $1.8 in TIF benefit

The $9.2 million project would have reaped $1.18 million in tax increment financing under the original deal with the city. But once the project started missing deadlines, the council exercised its right to penalize the developer. After having missed three deadlines, the maximum amount Market Lofts can get in TIF money stood at $771,147 as of this week.

Committee members were reluctant to restore all of the TIF money to Goehausen if he makes the new deadlines because of the message it might send.

“My personal opinion is had we not hit you over the head with a two-by-four we wouldn’t be where we are now,” said committee chairman Dave White. “The project was an embarrassment for a long time because it was just sitting there and wasn’t getting done. I don’t think that the city should have to go in and be punitive in order to get a project done.”

The new deadlines allow 10 percent of the TIF cap to be restored for each new deadline met. So if Market Lofts meets the April 15 deadline, his tax increment money would be increased to $848,261. However if he misses it, the maximum amount would decrease to $694,033. Even if he makes both deadlines, though, he will still not receive the entire original TIF amount.