Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Wichita city council members have approved incentives for a development district in west Wichita.
Tuesday morning, the council voted 4 to 3 to create a tax increment financing (TIF) district for Maize 54, LLC.
The group plans to create a mixed use development at the northeast corner of Maize Road and Kellogg, within a 100 year flood plain. The project is anchored by the Bowllagio Bowling and Family Entertainment Center and contains retail, hotel, restaurants and office space.
There are 66 homes in the 100-year flood plain. According to the city, projects associated with the TIF would permanently remove eight homes from the floodplain and reduce flooding concerns at more than 40 others.
The city also said all affected homeowners are willing to sell their homes.
Some residents and business managers were upset to hear that developers are requesting additional assistance from the City through the use of a TIF.
Council members Michael O'Donnell, Pete Metizner and Janet Miller voted against the plan.
Council member O'Donnell said it is a "huge disadvantage" for other bowling centers that are not requesting public funds for improvements. But Council member Jeff Longwell said this TIF is dramatically different than others, and ensures the money is used for greater public good.
"If they think it's such a great idea to build another bowling center, then take their own money, their own capital and invest it to make it happen, just like every other business does in the city of Wichita," Ray Baty, general manager for West Acres Bowling Center, said in October.
In Sept. 2010, the City Council established a Community Improvement District (CID) for the development project. CID projects can be funded by a special retail sales tax of up to 2% on all retail sales within the district. That same year, developers also requested sales tax revenue bonds (STAR) for the project but later withdrew that request.