Nottingham redevelopment foremost on Eudora City Commission’s plate for 2020
The Eudora City Commission will get a jump on an issue that will be on its plate throughout 2020 when it is asked early next month to approve the sale of a lot on the former Nottingham Elementary School property.
Eudora Mayor Tim Reazin said he expects the City Commission to consider selling part of the property to a chain restaurant company at its Jan. 13 meeting. He did not specify which company wants to buy the lot.
The Nottingham issue has been on commissioners’ minds since 2015, when the city bought the old elementary school and the surrounding 15 acres from the Eudora school district for $850,000. The property is adjacent to Church Street, one of the city’s main gateways off Kansas Highway 10, and the City Commission intended to redevelop the site for retail uses.
Plans for the property’s development are broken up into phases, and the goal of the first phase is to redevelop four lots that sit along Church Street. One of those is the lot that the commission will consider selling next month, Reazin said. Another one was sold in September to the convenience store chain Casey’s General Stores for $840,000.
No work can begin on the Casey’s location, though, until the city has added turn lanes to Church and 14th streets and prepared the lot for construction. If the city sells the second lot next month, that work will be able to move ahead, Reazin said. If the city were to sell the other two lots as well, it would have enough money to prepare all of the first-phase lots for retail development, he said.
City Manager Barack Matite gave commissioners a report last month that estimated the city could sell the three lots along Church Street for a total of $1.47 million.
“Right now, those lots along Church Street are the most attractive properties on the Nottingham property,” Reazin said. “I think after the first property sells, CBC will find buyers for the other two lots very soon.”
Reazin was referring to CBC Real Estate Group LLC, a Kansas City, Mo., firm that the city has hired to help find retailers for the Nottingham project. CBC has the exclusive right to market the Nottingham properties to potential retailers, and it also has an option to purchase all or part of the properties involved in the second and third phases of the project.
Last week, the city also contracted with Renaissance Infrastructure Consulting to complete a traffic study for the improvements at Church and 14th streets. Reazin said the study would review the consequences of extending 15th Street into the Nottingham site.
The traffic study should be completed near the end of March, which should be about the same time that the Casey’s site plan is approved, Reazin said.
The study will also be completed in time for the city to apply for a Kansas Department of Transportation grant that would provide about $2 million to add sidewalks, curbs and guttering on Church Street near the Nottingham project, Reazin said. If the city were to win the grant, it would have to match 25% of those funds, or roughly $500,000, Reazin said.
Reazin said the city had a good chance of getting the grant despite being passed over for the same grant in 2019. The city is studying the grant applications that succeeded in 2019 and will model its next application after those, he said. Also, he said the project meets some of KDOT’s key criteria.
“It would help bring in retail opportunities, enhance safety and provide walking trail connectivity, which are all things they are looking for,” Reazin said.
Work on the Nottingham project will also have an impact on youth sports in the area — but not for too long.
When construction eventually starts at the Nottingham site, the old athletic field on the property will no longer be available, Reazin said. That will require the Eudora Parks and Recreation Department to reshuffle its youth soccer leagues in 2019. However, Reazin said the city will break ground in late 2020 on the new South Sports Complex between Eudora Middle School and Eudora High School.
Preliminary designs include one full-sized tournament level field at the site, six smaller practice and youth fields and a concession stand and restroom building. Reazin said the complex should be completed in time for the 2021 youth soccer season.