Lawrence City Commission to discuss incentives application for KU’s West Campus development, consider setting public hearing

Lawrence City Hall, 6 E. Sixth St., Thursday, July 7, 2016

Lawrence city leaders will soon receive a presentation about the economic incentives requested for a planned mixed-use development on the University of Kansas’ West Campus.

The project, which is called The Crossing and includes research, residential and retail facilities, is seeking two economic development incentives: Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and a Community Improvement District (CID). As part of its meeting Tuesday, the Lawrence City Commission will receive a presentation about the possible incentives and consider approving a resolution setting Nov. 15 as the public hearing regarding the TIF.

According to a city staff memo to the commission, The Crossing will be a multi-phase, mixed-use development located on approximately 80 acres on KU’s West Campus. The development will serve as the gateway to KU Innovation Park and will include housing, research-oriented office spaces, a child care and early childhood education center and a mix of restaurants, activities, and “neighborhood amenity” retailers.

KU Endowment will be paying for infrastructure improvements needed for the project, and it’s asking the city for a 95%, 20-year property tax TIF and a 22-year, 1.5% CID sales tax to help reimburse those costs, according to the memo. The cost of the infrastructure improvements is estimated at $15 million initially and $25 million total once the entire project is complete. The infrastructure work includes replacing and upgrading a city-owned sanitary sewer line along Clinton Parkway and adding a traffic signal at the intersection of 21st and Iowa streets, as well as utility relocations, grading and street construction.

The first step in the incentive process will be for the commission to set the public hearing for Nov. 15, which is when the commission would consider an ordinance establishing the TIF redevelopment district. The cost of the incentives package will be presented at the public hearing, along with a financial analysis.

As the Journal-World has reported, the plans for the project call for 10 or more new research/office buildings on the West Campus to attract high-quality researchers and graduate students as well as private businesses that want to have office space next door to those researchers. KU Endowment, which owns much of the land on West Campus, wants to make the development stand out by building homes, restaurants, shops and other amenities.

In other business, the commission will discuss rate increases for water and sewer services and possible expansion of city utility assistance — both agenda items were deferred from its last meeting — and continue its discussion regarding potential changes to how it handles public comment during meetings.

The Lawrence City Commission will convene at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 6 E. Sixth St.


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