BY DAVID MARTIN
The Cordish Co. claims that the Kansas City is an $850 million project. Power & Light District
That number appears to be off by about a half-billion dollars.
Scrounging around my desk for a lost CD, I came across a glossy brochure the Downtown Council put out a couple of years ago. The brochure illustrates in impressive detail all the investments that have been made between the Missouri River and 31st Street.
The Power & Light District is described in the brochure as a $350 million project. But Cordish claims in its materials that the entertainment district is worth $850 million, a figure the media have repeated.
Cordish's Jon Stephens says the larger number is correct. “The aggregate development cost of the Power & Light District footprint is estimated to be $850,” he tells me in an e-mail.
But the Downtown Council was closer to the truth.
The Power & Light District sits in a tax-increment financing (TIF) area. When a TIF is in place, developers are eligible to receive some of the new taxes their projects generate.
A city-funded agency called the Economic Development Corporation administers TIF. According to the most recent report available on the agency’s Web site, the entertainment district’s cost is estimated to be $322 million. (City-issued bonds are paying $269 million of the tab.)
Another $50 million is assigned to a condominium-and-hotel project that Cordish has yet to formally submit to the city. But even if that piece comes to life, the Power & Light District is still a few hundred million short of its list price.
Cordish, it appears, is counting development within the TIF area but outside the entertainment district. The new H&R Block headquarters, for instance, cost $308 million.
Asked for clarification, Stephens says the $850 million figure is an “inclusive number,” whatever that means.
P.S. If anyone has seen a jewel-case-less copy of Dwight Yoakam singing the songs of Buck Owens, let me know.