Overland Park council OKs sales tax exemptions for SERV construction

The Overland Park City Council approved sales tax exemption bonds for SERV at Promontory, a proposed entertainment venue on Metcalf. Developers say construction on the project could start as early as Dec. 15. File image.

After almost an hour of back-and-forth discussion Monday night, the newly seated Overland Park City Council voted to approve sales tax exemption bonds for the second phase of the much-watched Promontory development.

Developers say they are aiming to begin work on the second phase of the $97.5 million project near 91st Street and Metcalf Avenue as early as this month.

That phase would consist of work on SERV at Promontory, an outdoor entertainment venue featuring pickleball courts, restaurants in repurposed shipping containers, a performance stage and large TV screen.

The SERV plan received approval from the city in June.

The bonds will provide for a sales tax exemption on things like construction materials, fixtures, equipment and furnishings for SERV, as outlined in a revised development agreement Overland Park approved earlier this year.

Under the agreement, up to $9.5 million of the estimated $15.8 million total cost to build SERV is subject to sales tax. A projected $970,000 of that could be saved with the exemption.

In a 10-2 vote Monday, the city council approved the bonds for this second phase of Promontory.

Both councilmembers Scott Hamblin and Faris Farassati, long-time critics of the city’s use of tax incentives, spoke out against providing the sales tax exemptions stating they were unnecessary for the project.

“I care how much that this will take out of our budget as a resident and out of the state,” Hamblin said. “This is the business model of a wishing well. We’re gonna throw [the bonds] in there and hope this is finally what kick starts this thing.”

Other councilmembers disagreed, stating it was important to provide the bonds as the project had already been successful with its first phase, and they were wanting to see it through completion.

“This is an area that needed our support and encouragement to start this new phase,” Councilmember Holly Grummert said. “It’s about to fulfill lot connectivity and gathering space demands from our community. I’m definitely going to support this re-innovation of the city.”

Correction: An earlier headline for this story incorrectly stated that the sales tax exemptions themselves for this project total $9.5 million. That is the amount of taxable cost that will be exempted.