Archive for Monday, August 21, 2017

HERE apartment complex to pay for Fambrough Drive project, must forgo hundreds of thousands in incentives

The first phase of a new parking lot for the HERE apartment and retail complex, background, is pictured July 3, 2017. The parking lot will enable additional bedrooms to be occupied, but the Chicago developers of the complex cannot begin collecting incentives from the city until the second phase of the parking lot is built.

The first phase of a new parking lot for the HERE apartment and retail complex, background, is pictured July 3, 2017. The parking lot will enable additional bedrooms to be occupied, but the Chicago developers of the complex cannot begin collecting incentives from the city until the second phase of the parking lot is built.

August 21, 2017


The city has approved a construction contract to realign Fambrough Drive, and the HERE apartment and retail complex will be footing the bill.

The project will align Fambrough Drive with 11th Street, providing room for the seven-story complex at 1111 Indiana St. to expand its existing parking lot. HERE needs the added parking to lease all its apartments and begin collecting tax rebates from its multimillion-dollar incentives agreement with the city.

City officials said that arrangement is by design.

Related document

Construction and access agreement ( .PDF )

Related document

HERE parking lot lease ( .PDF )

“The incentives were created in a way that they miss out on those years that they don’t have a completed project,” said Scott McCullough, director of planning and development. “It does not push everything forward.”

The construction contract, approved by the City Commission Aug. 15, states that HERE will construct the road and parking lot next summer. Without the required parking spaces the complex cannot receive its final occupancy permit, meaning that the Chicago-based developers will forgo at least two years of property tax rebates.

Originally, the city estimated the developer’s property tax rebates, provided through the Neighborhood Revitalization Act, would provide about $5.7 million of rebates over the 10-year incentive period. The rebates would have been worth hundreds of thousands of dollars annually, but as of Monday afternoon the city did not have a more precise figure available.

The previous City Commission provided the HERE project an 85 percent, 10-year property tax rebate after the development group touted the mixed-use complex as being a major benefit for the city’s economy. Developers also received Industrial Revenue Bonds, which provided a sales tax exemption on construction materials that saved the project about $2.4 million.

The construction contract also penalizes HERE if the parking and realignment project doesn't stay on schedule. The contract states that HERE will begin construction no earlier than May 14 and finish no later than Aug. 3. If HERE fails to complete the work by that date, then HERE has to pay the University of Kansas and the city $1,500 each for every day it goes over.

“It’s linked directly to the completion date to ensure that we’ve got an open road for the (first week of school),” McCullough said.

Originally, the development was to have a robotic valet parking garage that would have had the capacity to serve the entire complex, but the company responsible for producing that robotic system went bankrupt.

The completion this summer of the first phase of HERE's accessory parking lot enabled HERE to lease all but 21 of its 624 bedrooms, according to McCullough. He said those apartments are routinely inspected to ensure they remain vacant.

The apartment complex opened last summer after several delays, and the retail space on its ground floor currently houses Edible Arrangements and Toppers Pizza. HERE was responsible for and paid all property taxes due on the project in 2016, which amounted to about $260,000, according to the city’s economic development report.

The majority of the property that will make up the HERE parking lot is owned by the KU Endowment Association, which will lease the new lot to HERE. Construction of the first phase of the parking lot also required the demolition of two houses.

The construction contract for the project is between the city, HERE and KU, and on Monday was in the process of being finalized, according to McCullough.

The contract requires city engineers to review the project’s construction plan with KU, and the work to be completed to city standards and subject to city approval.


David Holroyd 3 months, 3 weeks ago

What about the parking meters? I have asked before and no one at the Journal World will cover it.

!.. How much money has been collected?

  1. How much of the revenue went to "affordable housing" .? I can't believe Stuart Boley hasn't asked. Is it a secret?

3..How much has the city collected for the parking tickets.?

  1. Number of tickets written and number of tickets collected producing fines? Rochelle...there is a story here!!

Samantha Martin 3 months, 3 weeks ago

So the new game at city hall is let the HERE Apartment owner do whatever they want if they pretend to pay for it. Remember they already have saved millions of dollars on this project by not building the robotic parking and the taxpayers are subsidizing the rest of the building for years to come.

It's a joke.

Samantha Martin 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Where is the lease between KU and HERE for the parking lot, can the newspaper please supply a link to that document.

Rochelle Valverde 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Hi Samantha,

I have attached the construction agreement and the parking lot lease to the story.

Thanks, Rochelle

Samantha Martin 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Rochelle, Thank you. The city currently owns the right of way where Fambrough Drive is today, what happens to that property when the street is realigned and curves to meet 11th. Is the city ROW following the new alignment of Fambrough Drive or is HERE parking on it.

Rochelle Valverde 3 months, 3 weeks ago

You're welcome. The city right-of-way will shift with the road. The contract states: "The City will vacate its Right of Way in the abandoned portion of Fambrough Drive and KU will convey to the City a Right of Way in the newly-aligned Fambrough Drive, and the abandoned Right of Way will be divided between the University and KUEA and the KUEA portion will become part of the Leased Parking Area."

Samantha Martin 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Thank you for taking the time to respond.

Deborah Snyder 3 months, 3 weeks ago

I want to thank the city planning department and administration for its efforts to resolve this situation, given the moral and ethical wrongdoing of the local developers in this project. It's another hard lesson in A) having back-up plans to proposals not in widespread practice (with proven track records) ... aka robotic parking ... and in making enforcement hurt when individuals break trust and integrity for self gain.

Deborah Snyder 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Hey, just a query on the road project... were there unprotected water and sewage lines laid in that area? Do city inspectors know the location and/or condition of those substrate infrastructures?

Mark Kostner 3 months, 3 weeks ago

This project was rammed through without much regard to anything. Remember when they were going to wrap it around an elderly lady's house? These developers have no one to blame but themselves for any hassle or loss. Then again, I don't know what the rents and leases are so this just might be written off as the cost of doing business.

David Holroyd 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Deborah, you must be naive to think that the Planning Department and Administration was bending over backwards to resolve anything. You truly are naive. Planning has been behind every backdoor approach to the project led by one, Dr. McCullough, the Planning proctologist.

And remember, one Mr. Farmer was on the commission when decisions were made on the project. I wonder how he was lobbied for a vote. AFter all it is entirely likely that he profited in some way for HERE, after all he did from Just Foods...just sayin'!

btw the buidilng leaks..I checked out Toppers Pizza last nite and they had a leak from the unfinished space.....kinda shabby considering the cost of the project and the roof drains gushed out water flowing toward the door of the pizza joint. ONe would think that they would flow into a pipe and into the storm sewer..the problems at HERE are familiar with the Sports Pavillion..ongoing!

Rochelled, what about the parking revenue...are you so inclined to produce the records...after all HERE is supposed to empty the meters and the City of Lawrence writes tickets. So,, 1. What is the parking revenue...HERE should report that because they promised to give money to affordable housing...Stuart Boley should be asking since he was behind it.

  1. How many tickets has the city written to date and how many have been paid?

Why is it such a secret?

David Holroyd 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Rochelle, just wondering if you approached Mr. Markus for an interview..would he be so inclined to give you one. If not,,,he should.!

And he should give the facts. After all he must have them.:)

David Holroyd 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Had to go back and look at something. Tell me, anyone , how not renting 20 bedrooms is punishment. The place has over 600 bedrooms...3% of it could not be occupied. RENT IS BY THE BEDROOM..the leases are for EACH bed And those documents that Rochelle provided a link to are meaningless.

Information was REDACTED....what gives.?

And Deborah, with your whining about landlords buying up houses and paying more than the single family homeowner you are obsessed about this......

HERE was touted as a 75 million dollar project...but is valued for taxes at 29 million...Complain about that....

AND who needs tax relief if the county assessor does it for you...75 million or 29 million..

I'd take the 29 million.

HERE isn;t hurt. The company behind the project claims they have assest of millions and millions maybe even Billions.

Campus Acquisitions! So Deborah do your homework.

And Rochelle see if you can find the Parking revenue informaton...NOT REDACTED info.

Mr. Markus talks about transparency...lets see it.!

Samantha Martin 3 months, 3 weeks ago

David you are correct. The county assessor has this monster at less then have of its stated value and won't raise it to fix his own problem. The county has to get the base numbers correct because this property will never pay its full share, with this mistake on the value the taxpayers will never see any meaningful return. The city leader and staff have been taught a lesson by CA Student Venture's and their hired guns. And the 20 locked off bedrooms out of 628 are meaningless to this owner, it a 3% vacancy rate on beds not units, every rental owner would love for such success. A four bedroom unit could to three tenants leaving the fourth too locked off that is not punishment. Locking off 20 four bedroom units and not allowing then to be leased, that a small penalty but at least it a punishment.

Samantha Martin 3 months, 3 weeks ago

David you say you walk by this mess occasionally. I read on the interactive crime map that many serious problems are dealt with by our police department on a regular basis. Why should the city continue to kiss A$s every time somebody from HERE needs to be bailed out for there own mistakes, some of which created on purpose.

Anyway be careful walking by you never know what's about to happen.

David Holroyd 3 months, 3 weeks ago

The HERE project is a collusion between KU Endowment and HERE. Remember how Jayhawker Towers was built.

The problem is no one remembers squat....and the newbies could care less and Deborah should know she works at KU at least did once. She complains about landlords buying houses in single family zoned...never caring that the landlord may rent to a family...families deserve to live in a house!!!

You see Samantha, what you wrote about the number of bedrooms and the locking off of units WILL NEVER MAKE THE PAPER.....the paper is reporting fake news. Redaction of information is fake news.

Still no word on the parking revenue...still no roof on the Mausoleum....still no street repair on 13th from Mass to Kentucky...still no word on Menards.....of course not,,,Menards is not coming....

The commission just bumbles along and Mr. Markus is driving the bus....about to collide with reality.

Now the county wants a new building ....will they bail out the owner of the old A&P building... on Mass.........taking bets!

David Holroyd 3 months, 3 weeks ago

5 hours and Rochelle has not gotten back about the parking revenue...IT IS A SECRET!

David Holroyd 3 months, 3 weeks ago

15 hours and 31 minutes and the SECRET won't be released about the parking revenue and parking tickets and fines. The parking money must have gone the way like money did in the Just Foods account. After all HERE gets the money and the pay is by credit card...Does the city know how much revenue? Should...and Stuart Boley should care..some is to go" toward affordable housing" and that venue of housing whatever it is...needs all they can get with the 3.5 mill levy imposed by the school district.

The city has been writing tickets..could it be it is just for show and they don't collect on them....pretty soon the city will turn over the ticket writing to KU Parking and they will COLLECT. And to think KU Parking will write tickets on a city street! What is next......

KU Parking coming to a street near you .....your NOT SO FRIENDLY parking service..

David Holroyd 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Why is the revenue from the parking meters such a SECRET? They are supposed to provide money for "affordable housing"...surely Mr. Boley is curious :)

Why does the city keep it secret about how many tickets has been written and fines collected?

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