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kc city council will determine scope of abatement for 300-job renovation project

Rob Roberts
Kansas City Business Journal
February 22, 2017

An obscure incentive-granting body — the board of Kansas City’s Enhanced Enterprise Zone 1 — recommended approval of a 12-year property tax abatement for redevelopment of the McQueeny Lock Building on Wednesday.

The incentive was requested by three area contracting firms — Superior Bowen Asphalt, Inspired Homes and Centric Projects — that plan to move a total of 300 employees into the building upon completion of its renovation and add 140 more during the next 10 years.

Monarch-520 Pennyway LLC, a partnership established by the three firms, recently acquired the building for $3.5 million and plans to spend an additional $6.5 million refurbishing it.

The building has stood vacant for eight years at 520 West Pennway — a location that was at the heart of a minor controversy during the EEZ 1 board meeting.

“That building is not in the Crossroads (Arts District),” board member Michael Duffy said after Chase Simmons, a Polsinelli PC lawyer representing the development partnership, referred to it that way.

“The Crossroads is really hot,” Simmons said in arguing for a 12-year, 100 percent property tax abatement. “But this particular area is not the best part of the Crossroads.”

Noting that the area containing the McQueeny Lock Building is considered by some to be part of the Crossroads and by others to be part of Downtown’s West Side, Drew Solomon, a senior vice president of business and job development for the Economic Development Corp. of Kansas City, referred to the area as “the Gaza strip.”

More serious was the debate about the amount of abatement that should be granted for the McQueeny Lock Building project, which will serve as a new headquarters site for both Superior Bowen Asphalt and Inspired Homes, a homebuilding firm co-founded three years ago by Superior Bowen Vice President Trey Bowen.

Simmons said a 100 percent abatement “is extremely important” to the contracting firms, which even with that level of assistance will be paying top-of-the-market $26-a-foot rents in the 45,000-square-foot building due to its extensive redevelopment requirements.