Archive for Wednesday, July 5, 2017

HERE apartment complex still lacks final occupancy permit; project’s tax rebate yet to kick in

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.

July 5, 2017

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Nearly a year after its opening, the HERE apartment complex still lacks its final occupancy permit and the ability to begin collecting millions in incentives from the city.

Scott McCullough, director of planning and development, said the project still has some corrections to make, but nothing out of the ordinary. He said the main issue is the complex's parking shortage.

“There’s no safety issues; it’s really just supplying the parking demand,” McCullough said. “And then they sort of automatically get their units opened up as soon as it’s constructed to plan.”

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.

The building cannot be fully occupied — and thus cannot receive its incentives —until the available parking meets the city's code requirements. Because the tax rebate agreement was inactive, HERE was responsible for and paid all real property taxes on the complex in 2016, which amounted to about $260,000, according to the city’s annual economic development report.

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 624-bedroom apartment and retail complex at 1111 Indiana St. received a temporary occupancy permit last year that allowed most rooms to be rented, but the parking shortage still prevents the complex from receiving its final permit. Without it, the complex cannot rent out about 75 bedrooms or begin receiving tax rebates from its incentives agreement with the city.

The City Commission approved a new two-phase parking plan last fall, which called for the demolition of two houses to construct a surface parking lot and the realignment of adjacent Fambrough Drive. The realignment would align Fambrough Drive with 11th Street and provide room for an expansion of the parking lot. The majority of the property that will make up the new lot is owned by the KU Endowment Association, which will lease the new lot to HERE.

The first phase of the parking lot is nearing completion, and McCullough said the city is meeting with representatives of the complex Thursday to review whether a portion of the unapproved units can be occupied.

“The point of (Thursday’s) meeting is to determine how close they are to getting that occupancy and laying out the path for occupancy so that they can get it for their August move-in dates,” McCullough said.

The complex’s Chicago-based developers are due to receive more than $8 million in incentives from the city. It’s estimated that the tax rebates, provided through the Neighborhood Revitalization Act, will provide about $5.7 million of rebates over the 10-year incentive period. Developers also received Industrial Revenue Bonds, which provided a sales tax exemption on construction materials that saved the project about $2.4 million.

In April of last year, the city signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the HERE developers updating the terms of the incentives. Economic Development Coordinator Britt Crum-Cano said the city will go by the MOU to decide when incentives become active.

“I think that that spells everything out,” Crum-Cano said. “To me that’s the current situation as far as occupancy and when their incentive kicks in.”

The MOU states that in order to receive any incentives under the NRA agreement, the complex’s construction must be “substantially complete” — defined as 90 percent complete — and provide parking for 100 percent occupancy of the residential and commercial units. The MOU also states that nothing in the MOU “shall be construed to extend the term of the NRA” and that incentives can’t be collected until the January following the city’s approval of the occupancy permit.

The previous City Commission provided the HERE project an 85 percent, 10-year tax rebate after the development group touted the mixed-use complex as being a major benefit for the city’s economy.

The seven-story luxury student housing complex includes about 240 units, but students sign individual leases for their bedrooms. The monthly rent for a bedroom ranges from $640 to $1,300 per month, depending on how many bedrooms are in the unit. The ground floor of the complex includes about 13,200 square feet of commercial space.

McCullough said the second phase of the parking lot and the realignment of Fambrough Drive will primarily be a development-funded project. He said a construction agreement between the city, KU and the developer will come before the City Commission at an upcoming meeting.

Comments

Steve Jacob 5 months, 1 week ago

What retail is currently at HERE? Curious.

Lara Ross 5 months, 1 week ago

Rivals is expected to release an update on its rankings in the next week, but here’s the way things look as of July 4.

Rich Hedges 5 months, 1 week ago

If you can't follow the rules you can't play the game, period. Since the developer didn't follow the rules they should not be paid any incentives!

Paul Jones 5 months, 1 week ago

Our responsible neighbors HERE and/or KUEA were real jerks with this parking lot project closing off the sidewalk for weeks for no reason (yes there was a short term reason but it went on far longer than necessary), leaving the grass unmowed last year when the houses were still there and this year up until they recently replaced the yard with sod, and now they are watering the sidewalk (and anybody trying to walk on the sidewalk) and street more than the grass.

It should be interesting to see what it is like when cars are using the lot since they will be crossing the sidewalk instead of putting the opening on the street that has no sidewalk!

Lawrence and their so called concern for walkability seems to be more concerned about lining the pockets of concrete companies and contractors instead of simply making it possible to walk on the sidewalks. What an interesting way of defining walkability.

David Holroyd 5 months, 1 week ago

So where are the parking spots for the commercial spaces? Remember, Mr Herbert was involved in this. Where does one park to partake of the Edible Arrangment venue?

How's about that space Mr. Herbert?

Mr. Markus , remember was going to fix the parking situation at HERE. Apparently it was all talk.

I suppose the city commissioner will just turn a blind eye and let Mr. Markus run roughshod on them. and in my hood I am waiting to see how the street repair in front of the Jayhawk Bar comes along on Ohio street.

FOLKS, your street dollars at work in the bar neighborhood BUT will there be any storm sewer openings to drain the water or is this just another "fix" again. Ms. Larsen is an engineer, and she should hoof it up the hill to 14th and Ohio to see what is being done and ask some questions, serious questions.

About that parking lot just built...I guess the trash trucks will be driving thru it as well? HUH? Does Rochelle know or does Rochelle care to inquire? Thanks in advance Rochelle.

All these projects brought to you by a Commission that Cares.

Hey, Ms. Soden, take a "walk on the wildside" and yonder over the to parking lot behind Marks, Framewoods and check out the dumpster area. Does Park and Rec carry a rake with them to clean up the area when they lumber around in the parking lot? AFter all, the dumpsters are right there and so easy to put the debris in.

A Mayor that Cares is a Mayor that Dares to Inquire!

Rochelle Valverde 5 months, 1 week ago

David,

The parking lot connects to the alleyway and a sign posted by the parking lot entrance states access to the alley is permitted. I would guess that includes trash trucks.

-Rochelle

David Holroyd 5 months, 1 week ago

And all the cars as well parking there will use the alley. It is just a genius idea of someone, all fullfilled by the Doctor McCullough of Planning and Proctology..

And to think the City Manager would allow a parking lot to be accessed by an alley...just great, it really is!

David Holroyd 5 months, 1 week ago

The alley runs north and south and then exits to the west through the parking lot and maybe to the east (?). Is the cut from Indiana on the east an EXit or Entrance to the lot and likewise the same on the west side of the lot.

Paul Jones is correct, the lot is either entered and/or exited over sidewalks. Why didn't the lot enter and exit from 11th street?

Rochelle, thank you but can you find out and let the public know. Anyone with a nice car sure as heck should pull up in the stall and not take a chance of trash trucks or other vehicles hitting the backside of those fancy cars the HERE occupants drive...oh, my dumb, that lot is zoned for other persons than HERE.

Why don't the developers and KU just admit they have a dorm project at 11th and Indiana and Mississippi.

Rochelle, you want to do some investigative reporting? Research how Jayhawker Towers was buillt and what was torn down and moved to other sites in town and who the investors were in Jayhawker Towers when it was built and what happened to a level of parking and why it was removed?

It makes for good reading, now decades later.

David Holroyd 5 months, 1 week ago

Ms. Rochelle, here is something to ponder about the Collett project south of town.

If I understand what's going on...public right of way on the north would be turned over to the developer and then in the middle of the project a city street runs through the center> iS that correct and that would be accessed from 59 highway...kinda like the mess at 11th and Mississippi...what's next for both? A roundabout?

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