In February, a Colorado developer bought a building at 1508 Grand for $1.3 million. The developer plans to put retail on the ground floor, offices on the second floor and a couple of lofts on the top floor.
Addressing the PIEA on Wednesday, the developer, Greg Wheeler, admitted that the neighborhood had “momentum” and there would be “big demand” for space inside the building once the renovation was complete.
It would have been easy for the PIEA to say no to Wheeler. Work on the project has already begun. And as Lester Siegel Jr., the chairman of the PIEA, pointed out, converting a building in the Crossroads was “not a trailblazing development.”
But the PIEA hates to see developers leave empty-handed. So Siegel and the rest of the board voted unanimously to approve a tax abatement.
Not completely oblivious to what’s happening in Kansas City, the board granted only a 10-year abatement. (Standard PIEA abatements last 25 years.) The board also voted to freeze taxes on the building after the most recent assessment, which left Crossroads property owners gulping. Still, Wheeler received what amounted to a $122,000 gift.
The board members who made yet another developer happy at least showed up. Though the PIEA meets only about once a month, nearly half the board failed to attend Wednesday’s meeting. In order to have a quorum, PIEA Executive Director Al Figuly had to get one board member on the phone. – David Martin