Mission Gateway developers late on $356,000 in taxes, jeopardizing agreement with city

Mission Gateway as of May 2021

Mission Gateway developers are delinquent on state real estate taxes — in the amount of $356,000, which was due May 10. City officials gave developers a formal notice at the end of May that included a 60-day period to pay what is owed. File photo.

The long-delayed Mission Gateway remains in limbo due to financial obstacles exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, the developer of the prominent project at the corner of Johnson Drive and Roe Boulevard is delinquent on $356,000 worth of annual real estate taxes.

The unpaid portion is for the second half of 2020. The taxes were due May 10, Johnson County confirms.

Although, according to state law, the taxes can remain delinquent until 2024 — the earliest a tax sale could occur — the city of Mission has given developers 60 days to pay the taxes, City Administrator Laura Smith said.

If developer Tom Valenti fails to pay the taxes, then the city could terminate the redevelopment agreement, Smith said.

Until then, Smith said delinquent taxes don’t have an impact on the future of Mission Gateway.

“We do not currently have [delinquent taxes] scheduled for discussion by the city council,” Smith said via email to the Shawnee Mission Post. “I would anticipate no discussion until the cure period (60 days) has expired.”

The latest snag

News of delinquent taxes comes after more than a year-long halt to construction on the site. Work there stopped in March 2020 as part of wider regional COVID-19 shutdowns.

Two months later, developers expressed confidence that the construction pause wouldn’t pose an issue for achieving their goal of completing the Cinergy Cinemas and Entertainment — a central part of the development — by the end of 2020.

But construction has remained on hold ever since, with little activity seen on the site. Instead, a hulking white concrete shell intended for the Cinergy complex has remained dormant, exposed to the elements, along with several other unfinished structures.

In June 2020, developer Andy Ashwal said in a release that economic impacts on the mezzanine and bond markets — brought on by the pandemic — were the cause of the continued delay. At the time, Ashwal said both markets were critical to resume construction.

When there was still no movement on the site in October 2020, Valenti spoke before the Mission City Council and reiterated that COVD-19 economic impacts would delay construction for the foreseeable future.

Valenti said, at that time, that lenders were skeptical to work with projects that feature large hotels, but the major tenants were still on board.

The city of Mission was supposed to be seeing more than $500,000 in annual revenue by now, per the redevelopment agreement approved in 2017.

There have been no updates from developers since October 2020. Valenti and other developers could not be reached for comment for this story.