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City Beat: Council mulls taxing district for southwest city project

$6.6M reimbursement estimated from CID for Brody Corners

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Springfield City Council heard a proposal on a special taxing district for the Brody Corners retail, restaurant and office project in southwest Springfield at its meeting Oct. 2.

Council is considering a community improvement district for the development following approval of a tax increment financing plan for Brody Corners in March 2022. That project, on 29 acres at the intersection of West Sunshine Street and James River Freeway, is being developed by West Sunshine Development LLC, led by Mike Seitz.

Amanda Ohlensehlen, the city’s director of Economic Development, explained to council that the redevelopment agreement requires the developer pursue a CID to speed up reimbursement of public improvements related to the project.

Ohlensehlen said the estimated reimbursement through the CID is $6.6 million, which would fund excavation and site preparation, public utilities, sanitary sewer, stormwater facilities, public streets and related fees.

When the TIF was approved in March 2022, a representative of developer Seitz told Springfield Business Journal work would begin immediately. The representative did not respond to an email for this story to update progress. The total cost was estimated at $27 million, and $3.4 million of that, or 12%, was reimbursable through the TIF. Those funds were slated to pay for sitework expenses, off-site fresh water and road work and fees.

Ohlensehlen said half of the CID funds would be transferred to the TIF to reimburse improvements, and the remainder of the funds would go toward reimbursement of further improvements and ongoing district operating costs during the life of the CID.

Council will vote on the CID at its Oct. 16 meeting.

Zoning measures
Six zoning measures will also be up for a vote on Oct. 16.

  • The rezoning of nearly 8 acres at 3900 S. Lone Pine Ave. and 2955-2957 E. Allen Place to a new conditional overlay for a medium-density multifamily residential district is proposed by Township 28 LLC.
    Project architect Harlan Hill said a 22-unit, three-story walk-up design is planned for the site. Originally, two buildings were planned, but the new design calls for the design to be consolidated into a single structure and reoriented to allow for about 10% more green space.
  • For a half-acre City Utilities of Springfield electrical substation at 529 W. Grand St., a rezoning is sought to a governmental and institutional use district from residential townhouse. Senior City Planner Daniel Neal said the rezoning would align the property with existing uses in the zoning ordinance while facilitating the redevelopment of the surrounding area.
  • Adjacent to the substation, the rezoning of 1 acre at 505-509 W. Grand St. and 931-937 S. Market Ave. is sought by GDL Enterprises LLC. The change would be to medium-density multifamily residential from single-family residential and residential townhouse districts. The proposal is for a three-story development with 30 dwelling units.
    Councilmember Brandon Jenson noted the proposed use is the type of development that is envisioned along the Grant Avenue Parkway. “The neighborhood is excited to see this development,” he said.
  • The rezoning of nearly 3 acres at 1266 E. Lark St. from planned development to general retail is proposed. Representing owners St. James Hotel Properties LLC, Rick Wilson of Wilson Surveying said it’s an area that has developed over the years, and the owners have a buyer who believes the property is appropriate for a hotel, a use that is disallowed under the current planned development designation.
  • At 3601 E. Chestnut Expressway, the Joseph S. Manzardo and Kari J. Manzardo Revocable Trust seeks the rezoning of 6 acres to highway commercial from a planned development. The property located behind Menards, described by city staff as narrow and deep, would be the site of a self-storage facility. Representing the applicants, Geoffrey Butler of BRP Architects described the property as an orphan – the remnant of a planned development that didn’t work out.
    “Menards came in and gobbled up what they wanted and rezoned it to highway commercial, leaving this orphan,” he said.
    Butler said the property slopes from high to low, with the low point being a stream buffer created by the drainage from Menards, and he added that running utilities for any other use would be cost prohibitive.
    “Storage is a great use for that because it doesn’t require utilities. We can run simple electric lines up there for power to light it,” he said.
  • Officials with the Springfield Dream Center, 829 W. Atlantic St. and 2015 N. Missouri Ave., are seeking a conditional use permit for their building. Dream Center Operations Director Robert Sorbo said the site was given to the Dream Center by a church that had operated for about a century, but it now offers after-school care, community meals and various community services.
    “We began to realize that we may not fall under the purview of a church anymore, and we began the process of just identifying to make sure we were in compliance,” he said, adding that city staff recommended the center pursue a conditional use permit.

City land purchase
The city is considering the purchase of a building at 811-813 N. Boonville Ave. owned by the law firm of Johnson, Vorhees & Martucci - Springfield LLC, which now operates from an office at 444 S. Campbell Ave. The price is $500,000.

If purchased, the building would house the city’s Risk Management Department during renovation of the Historic City Hall.

The council bill authorizes a budget amendment in the amount of $600,000 to cover the $500,000 purchase plus acquisition costs.

David Holtmann, director of finance for the city, said the building is ready to occupy. He noted that the city has acquired most property in the area, aside from two small office buildings.

Council is scheduled to vote on the land purchase Oct. 16.

Other action items

  • The Springfield-Greene County Health Department has been offered a $39,604 grant from the Musgrave Foundation and a $100,000 grant from the Missouri Children’s Trust Fund to implement the Family Connects Program.
    The program provides no-cost home visits by nurses to parents of newborns in Greene County, according to Director of Public Health Katie Towns. The nurses are able to connect families to community resources during the baby’s first 12 weeks of life through the program, which is available to all Greene County residents who give birth in the county.
    Towns said the program, which is in place nationally, sets families up for success while resulting in safer home environments. She highlighted 44% lower rates of home investigation by agencies like the Children’s Division of the Missouri Department of Social Services through the child’s second birthday.
    Council will vote on whether to accept the grants on Oct. 16.
  • A cost-share agreement with the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission and BNSF Railway Co. would reimburse construction costs for improvements to the railroad crossing at the intersection of National Avenue and Division Street.
    The $2 million project would be funded in part by a $750,000 grant from the MHTC and would improve safety by replacing the existing truss-style signal with signal poles and mast arms. Geometric improvements to the intersection are also planned, as is the addition of a bike lane on Division Street.
    The measure will be voted upon Oct. 16.
  • A donation of $15,000 from the Hatch Foundation was accepted for the purchase of a reusable holiday tree for the city’s downtown celebration.
  • Council OK’d the addition of seven new full-time equivalent positions for the Springfield-Branson National Airport and adjusted the budget in the amount of $349,000 to pay for them.
  • Licenses for retail liquor sales were approved for two businesses in the 600 block of South Kimbrough Ave. Applicants were Tacos El Champu 2 LLC, doing business as Tacos El Champu 2, and Gabriela Colorado Navarrete, doing business as Kimbrough Asian Cuisine Cafe.

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