Archive for Friday, February 15, 2013

KU Endowment asking city to pay $780,000 for 26-acre recreation center site

February 15, 2013


If a proposed $25 million city recreation center ends up being judged a good deal, it won’t be because the city got free land to build the facility.

Officials with the city and Kansas University Endowment Association have clarified that the city won’t receive a donation of 26 acres from Endowment to build the center near Sixth Street and the South Lawrence Trafficway.

Instead, the city will pay $780,000 — or $30,000 an acre — to purchase the property from a KU Endowment entity.

City officials disclosed the selling price for the first time Thursday evening, but City Manager David Corliss said the new detail doesn’t materially change the deal because the city’s overall cost for the project has not increased.

“It doesn’t really change anything, given that the purchase price applies to our $25 million maximum,” Corliss said.

KU Endowment has guaranteed the city won’t have to pay more than $25 million for its proposed 181,000-square-foot recreation center and the infrastructure needed to support it.

But because of how the city’s proposed agreement with KU Endowment — and its entity RCP LLC — is structured, it is possible for the city to pay less than $25 million. That would be the case if bids for the recreation center and infrastructure come in below estimates. By now including $780,000 in expenses for land, it is more likely the city will have to pay the full $25 million.

But Dale Seuferling, president of KU Endowment, said the association never intended to donate the property to the city.

“It is a cost of development, just like any other location,” Seuferling said.

Members of the public may not have been aware KU Endowment was seeking to sell the land to the city. City commissioners first began looking at building the recreation center on the edge of the city — rather than on a more centrally located site the city already owns near Sixth Street and Wakarusa Drive — because of an offer of free land.

Until October, the city was proposing to build the center on the northwest corner of Sixth Street and the SLT. A group led by the Schwada family had offered to donate 60 acres of property to the city.

But Kansas University officials pulled out of that partnership to locate its facilities — including a track and field stadium and soccer field — next to the city’s recreation center. Instead KU officials worked to purchase an approximately 100-acre tract on the east side of the SLT, and invited the city to locate the recreation center there.

That invitation, though, never included free land, Seuferling said. Instead, KU Endowment offered to build the city a recreation center complete with infrastructure as part of a “turnkey” package of $25 million. Seuferling said the $25 million package price always included a provision for land costs, but it was never stated that way due to the turnkey nature of the proposal.

But the city last month insisted it must back away from the turnkey proposal and instead have the center built under the city’s standard bidding process. At that point, KU Endowment created a contract for the city to buy the 26-acre lot at $30,000 an acre, the price KU Endowment paid for the land.

Seuferling said Friday that KU Endowment did not receive a donation of funds to purchase the property, and it felt it needed to recoup the amount of money it paid for the land.

City commissioners will consider approving an agreement to proceed on the recreation at their 6:35 p.m. meeting Tuesday at City Hall.


Keith 5 years, 4 months ago

"But because of how the city’s proposed agreement with KU Endowment — and its entity RCP LLC — is structured, it is possible for the city to pay less than $25 million. That would be the case if bids for the recreation center and infrastructure come in below estimates."

As if that will happen.

Jeremiah Jefferson 5 years, 4 months ago

Uh, didn't they just get a 1.2 million dollar donation from a an deceased alumni estate? Just sayin. If KU wants it then they should pay for it.

parrothead8 5 years, 4 months ago

Uh, KU already has "it." The city wants "it," and KU is willing to sell "it" to them.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 4 months ago

The million from the Self family changes nothing regarding this ever changing transaction.

I would appreciate the Self family donation go to the East Lawrence Hike and Bike trail that connects to the River Levy specifically designed by Mike Myers. The west side has plenty of neighborhood trails.

That said there are still more than $30 million tax dollars involved and the questionable process in general.

"City Manager David Corliss now has confirmed the city is set to pay KU Endowment $780,000 — or $30,000 an acre — for the site."

Again who that made that decision? Which city commissioners are pushing this nonsense?

What financial commitments have been made and signed off on? Why was this done? If it was done. This is no way to do business.

Lenette Hamm 5 years, 4 months ago

No, No, and NO! Make TFritz pay for the whole damn thing!

Jeremiah Jefferson 5 years, 4 months ago

Hell he can't pay it, hes in the hole for 3.4 million in back taxes lol

Lenette Hamm 5 years, 4 months ago

I doubt that's because he doesn't have the $$$... more in line with his sleazy nature. Wait - did I say THAT!!?? ;)

nekansan 5 years, 4 months ago

To continue the sports analogy, it's time to punt. There are too many unknowns and the city seems to keep coming up further on the short end of this deal. Lawrence should step completely away from the deal rec center, infrastructure participation and all. If KU needs the facility let them build and fund it. Then the city can step back and plan this multi million dollar project on their own timeline and in the context of the numerous other capital projects (sewer treatment, police facility, roads, K10 bypass, farmland re-development, etc) that are on the horizon rather than be pressured by KU in to a facility/fiscal structure that is beyond our needs.

gorilla10 5 years, 4 months ago

KU is doing helping the city big time! It would be dumb to pass up No "punt" is needed! They're going for it and getting the first down. Get this thing going.

texburgh 5 years, 4 months ago

Tell KU to go to Hades. If KU is involved then this won't be a rec center for us, it will be for KU. Hours will be restricted, Fritzell will need his profit. Don't partner. Don't build it. Don't tax me for something I won't have complete and free access to.

leftylucky 5 years, 4 months ago

IRS form 13909 . All citizens should send one in.

leftylucky 5 years, 4 months ago

Business entity id for ku endowment 0237305 Business entity id kansas athletics 0338327 Business entity Id for assists foundation 3990926

Dan Eyler 5 years, 4 months ago

So now were going to pay another million dollars for the land, and then subsidize the whole project for ever because it won't make money and we can already hear KU say they just don't have the money to keep up the end of their bargain. If I am not mistaken they can't pay for the maintenance for the infrastructure they already have but they keep right on building. Why.....because its for the children and as long as they can get away with that line, we the taxpayer just keep right on paying. After all why is the taxpayer footing the bill for the recreation center anyway, yes you got it, for the children at least for the children on the west side of town who can afford to get to the place to begin with. Bend over Lawrence!

Richard Heckler 5 years, 4 months ago

This has been smelling like a bailout I do declare. Kinda like the previous USD 497 BOE did for Phillip Glass if my memory serves me well on 75 acres of unimproved land.

If voters put back incumbents,a former city commissioner and anyone who would think like this... it's saying this is okay let's do it some more.

Isn't odd we're always told it's the lower income neighborhood children that need this type of access yet it is 10-12 miles away from those who most need it?

Pull the plug!

Richard Heckler 5 years, 4 months ago

The Lawrence school district has paid $1.73 million to purchase a prime piece of property that would be prominent along the proposed route of the South Lawrence Trafficway.

At their Oct. 26 meeting, school board members approved the purchase of 76 acres of farm and pasture ground southeast of Lawrence. The property, near the intersection of East 1750 and North 1300 roads, would be just west of where the South Lawrence Trafficway would connect with the existing Kansas Highway 10 east of Lawrence.

School district leaders said they did not have a firm plan for the property, At 76 acres, the site is also large enough that part of the property could be used for a school and the balance could be sold for a profit. An elementary school, for example, generally needs about 25 acres.

The school district purchased the property from P.D.O. Investors, a Lawrence-based group led by Steve Glass, the former owner of LRM Industries

Hudson Luce 5 years, 4 months ago

This, exactly: "What the commission needs to do is: 1. All five unanimously vote to not pursue a city rec center. Pull the plug, revive the issue in two years. 2. Spend the next two years in cleaning the town. Alley improvements, gap sidewalk improvements throughout the entire city."

If you look at East Lawrence and North Lawrence, and the existing neighborhoods south of 19th and east of Iowa Streets, there's easily $25 million in infrastructure upgrades and repairs which need to be done. It's a foolish waste of money to spend it on still yet another recreational center, we need to fix and upgrade what we already have, rather than go into debt building new facilities and letting what we have now fall into disrepair and ruin.

If land developers want a recreational facility in order to enhance the salability of their projects, they should build them as part of their project as a dedication to the city along with other needed infrastructure.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 4 months ago

The city’s largest neighborhood group is now officially calling for a citywide election on the project and is expressing concerns that the proposed bidding process won’t adequately protect the public.

Board members of the Lawrence Association of Neighborhoods unanimously agreed to submit comments expressing concern about the proposed process to build a regional recreation center as part of a public-private sports park just north of the northeast intersection of Sixth Street and the South Lawrence Trafficway.

“As we see it, the project as proposed falls far short of the desired standard of public bidding and cost certification,” Laura Routh, the newly elected president of LAN told me this morning. “Under the conditions outlined thus far, we have no assurance that taxpayers will get full value for their money.”

LAN also took the position that a citywide election on the project should be held, “given the magnitude of the project and the resulting long-term debt to be incurred by taxpayers.”

Richard Heckler 5 years, 4 months ago

In a civilized manner let YOUR commissioners know!

Mayor Bob Schumm Home (785) 842-6729 Work (785) 842-7337

Vice Mayor Michael Dever (785) 550-4909

Commissioner Hugh Carter (785) 764-3362

Commissioner Mike Amyx Home (785) 843-3089 Work (785) 842-9425

Commissioner Aron E. Cromwell (785) 749-6020

Richard Heckler 5 years, 4 months ago

The birth of this fiasco began about here at least this is about when the public at large got wind of it. This is a high dollar PLAY concept make no bones about it. Does it ever stop?

PLAY Overview

PLAY Committee Members Kelly Barth, Mark Buhler, Dave Corliss, Fred DeVictor, Rick Gammill, Mike Grosdidier, Sue Hack, Paige Hofer, Bonnie Lowe, Pam Madl, Julie Manning, Scott Morgan(USD 497), Wayne Osness, Linda Robinson(USD 497), Bob Sanner, Ernie Shaw, Doug Stremel and Doug Vance.

The Mission Statement of PLAY

Background and Process

The first step in the needs assessment was to collect data from a variety of sources. Three methods were developed to collect data for this study. The design team has completed the following:

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