Eudora City Commission awards contract to raze vacant Nottingham School; reaches deal to sell property to Casey’s General Store
photo by: Elvyn Jones
Two recent actions reflect the Eudora City Commission’s decision to take a more active role in the redevelopment of the Nottingham School property on the city’s gateway, Eudora City Manager Barack Matite said.
At its Sept. 23 meeting, the City Commission awarded a $151,000 contract to Remco Demolition to remove the old school on Church Street just north of the city’s primary Kansas Highway 10 interchange. The city bought the closed elementary school and 15 acres of surrounding property from the Eudora school district for $850,000 in 2015.
At the same meeting, the City Commission also agreed to sell 1.5 acres in the northeastern portion of the property to Casey’s General Stores for $840,000. The sale does have a 270-day due diligence clause.
Matite explained the clause will allow the city to work with an undisclosed developer to put in place a redevelopment agreement, which would allow that company to install the needed infrastructure to redevelop the entire Nottingham property. The infrastructure needed to realize that goal is much more comprehensive than that required to develop the corner portion that Casey’s purchased, he said.
The city entered into past redevelopment agreements with CBC Real Estate Group of Kansas City, Mo., from 2016 to 2017 and then Alcove Development of Lawrence from June 2018 to earlier this year to redevelop the site as a retail center. Both agreements ended when the developers couldn’t get a commitment from a large retail store to anchor a redevelopment plan.
Matite said the city is now in talks with a developer to assume that redevelopment role, which would include marking retail lots and installing infrastructure at the site. In a departure from past arrangements with CBC and Alcove, the new plan will give the city a more active role in the site’s redevelopment, he said.
To help a developer with the cost of extending infrastructure to the site, the City Commission in 2017 approved creation of a tax increment financing, or TIF, district for the property. The Eudora school district and Douglas County also agreed to participate in a Nottingham TIF district. The TIF district would allow the added property, sales and franchise taxes collected from the site’s redevelopment to be used to finance infrastructure improvements at the site.
Eudora Mayor Tim Reazin said the Casey’s property sale was the result of months of work. He envisions it to be the first of the eventual “purposeful development” of the Nottingham property.
The redevelopment agreement the city now is negotiating with the undisclosed company would give the city a more active role in the design and the three-phase development timeline of the site than did the two previous arrangements, Reazin said. One goal is to make upgrades to the Church Street corridor north of K-10 that include turn lanes, curbs and guttering and sidewalks so that it will serve as a link to the city’s growing residential neighborhoods south of K-10, he said. The design will also ensure the development doesn’t line the west Elm Street boundary with trash containers, he said.
“We want to make sure the property has the proper screening,” he said. “This will be our town center. We want to make sure it is done right and not just something put in quick to increase retail sales and our tax base.”
Matite said the city officials would start working with Remco this week on the details of the school’s demolition, which includes the removal of asbestos. It could be the end of October before the company is ready to start razing the building, but it should be gone before the end of the year, he said.