Leawood council unanimously approves 1% sales tax hike at Ranch Mart North to help fund shopping center redevelopment

The Ranch Mart North shopping center is slated for a $47 million redevelopment — and a 1 percent sales tax increase.

The Leawood city council on Monday unanimously approved a community improvement district (CID) sales tax that will provide revenue to fund certain redevelopment costs for Ranch Mart North, located near 95th and Mission Road.

The CID will increase sales tax from 9.1% to 10.1% for purchases made inside Ranch Mart North boundaries starting July 1, 2020 and can stay in effect for up to 22 years.

Ranch Mart North is slated for a starkly modern redesign.

Funds generated by the additional 1% will be used to reimburse certified development costs incurred by Ranch Mart owner Bob Regnier, who is also President and CEO of the Bank of Blue Valley. The CID is expected to reimburse about $13.45 million of the expected $47 million redevelopment costs, which will transform the 60-year-old center into a facility with a much more modern design.

Regnier received a CID incentive from Overland Park for part of the Ranch Mart South redevelopment project that was started about a decade ago, though the bulk of that project was financed without public money. The total project cost for the portion of the Ranch Mart South redevelopment eligible for CID reimbursements was just $2.8 million.

Monday’s meeting included a public hearing for anyone wanting to voice their opinion on the CID, but the only person who participated was Curtis Petersen, an attorney representing Ranch Mart North LLC.

Mayor Peggy Dunn and councilmember James Azeltine noted they had heard comments from individuals who believed the city should not approve the CID, and that public funds should not be used to fund private development.
Azeltine said Leawood has been very conservative in allowing these types of incentives and reiterated that the city would not receive funds from the CID.

“It really has no effect on the City of Leawood’s budget,” he said. “It’s neutral.”

Azeltine also commented that “if you don’t like the idea you certainly don’t have to shop there.”

Councilmember Debra Filla made the motion to approve the CID and it was seconded by Azeltine.

Councilmembers Monday also approved the final Ranch Mart North redevelopment plan, which includes replacing the building’s main façade, adding a plaza area, incorporating a year-round outdoor activity area with Astroturf, and replacing the site’s former bowling alley with a two-story office and retail building. Improved traffic flow and parking is also addressed in the plans.

Dunn said the council was eager and “very excited” for redevelopment work to get started.

Petersen said he expected work to begin this summer and finish in mid to late 2020.

This is the third major CID approved for shopping centers along Mission Road in recent years. In 2010, Prairie Village approved 1% sales tax CIDs for Corinth Square and the Village Shops.