Eudora leaders again working to build new retail center along K-10 highway

Piles of material from the old Nottingham Elementary School wait to be hauled away Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019. In September, the City of Eudora contracted with Remco Demolition to raze the old school as a step toward redeveloping the property that the city bought in 2015 from the Eudora school district.

Eudora leaders once again are taking steps to build a new retail center along Kansas Highway 10 that they hope will cut down on the amount of shopping that Eudora residents do in Lawrence.

“We want things that are a good fit for Eudora and that will benefit the community for 20 or 30 years,” Eudora Mayor Tim Reazin said. “We want things that keep folks happy and keep them in town so we don’t lose retail dollars to Lawrence.”

The Eudora City Commission recently approved a development agreement with Kansas City, Mo.-based CBC Real Estate Group LLC to partner in the redevelopment of the 15 acres that formerly housed the Nottingham Elementary School. The city bought the closed school building and the surrounding football field, track and other vacant property from the Eudora school district for $850,000 in 2015 with the goal of bringing commercial development to the site. The property is just north of Eudora’s main Church Street exit off Kansas Highway 10.

Retail options now missing in Eudora include auto parts and hardware stores, Reazin said. It is also thought that a grocery store would be the ideal anchor store needed to attract other retail development to Nottingham, he said. Other lots on the property also have been touted as prime locations for fast-food restaurants.

City officials have tried to spur retail development at the site without success. But the city last month began demolition work of the old school building, and Casey’s General Store has announced plans to build a new store on a portion of the Nottingham site. Now, Eudora leaders are hoping CBC can help attract more businesses to the area. It won’t be CBC’s first attempt at doing so.

In 2016, the city made a six-month pre-development agreement with CBC, which gave the firm the exclusive right to market the property for commercial development. Although that agreement was extended into 2017, CBC eventually withdrew from the project because it was unable to find an anchor retailer to make the redevelopment work.

The city’s new agreement with CBC again gives the firm the exclusive right to market the Nottingham site and the option to buy all or part of its 5.8-acre Phase 2 development and 4-acre Phase 3 development. Under the agreement, the city will contract with CBC to provide marketing services, develop a site plan and help with Nottingham’s plan management.

CBC does not have an option to purchase property in Nottingham’s 4.6 acre Phase 1 in the site’s northeast section, which will include a future Casey’s convenience store and three other lots. In September, the city agreed to sell 1.5 acres in Phase 1 to Casey’s General Stores for $840,000.

The city has decided to take a more active role in the Phase 1 development, Reazin said. The $840,000 the city will receive from Casey’s for its land purchase will basically pay for the city’s Nottingham purchase price, he said. The plan is to apply the $1.47 million the city expects to receive for the three remaining Phase 1 lots toward needed infrastructure improvements. Eudora City Manager Barack Matite wrote in a memo to the City Commission that it is estimated that the city will receive enough revenue from a completed Phase 1 to pay off Nottingham’s purchase price, Phase 1 infrastructure needs and bank money toward infrastructure needed in Phase 2.

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