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City to discuss $23.4 million bond proposal for industrial development first phase

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LoneElmIndustrialRendering

On Tuesday, the Olathe City Council will hear a request for $23.4 million in industrial revenue bonds for an industrial development at 159th Street and Lone Elm Road called 159 Lone Elm Industrial Development owned by BlueScope Properties, LLC. The proposal also includes a request for a 10-year, 50% property tax abatement. 

Industrial revenue bonds, or IRBs, are a financing tool that essentially amounts to an incentive package issued by local governments and state authorities. 

PROJECT DETAILS 

In this case, the industrial revenue bonds and master resolution would be issued for the 236,160 square-foot industrial warehouse for the first phase of the project. Per the master resolution also to be considered following a series of public hearings, up to $76.9 million in IRBs could be issued for the whole project. If the council approves the proposals and resolutions, it would simply indicate their intent to issue but would not necessarily mean the bonds will be given in the future.

Earlier this fall, the Olathe Planning Commission and the City Council unanimously approved the rezoning proposals for the property, shifting it to an industrial designation from the residential zoning it had had since the 1980s. At the time, Jessica Schuller, senior city planner, said that the long-term plans for the site are to use it as an employment area. Additionally, the majority of the surrounding area is zoned for or planned for industrial use, except for a property to the east that has a residential designation. To the south, there is a church and the Olathe District Activity Center. 

The plans for the site — which totals more than 72 acres — include four flex space industrial buildings and two smaller-scale buildings on the east side of the property. BlueScope Properties, LLC, plans to build the project in multiple phases, and the buildings will vary in size from 30,000 to 236,160 square feet. Total building square footage will exceed 640,000 when construction is complete. Building heights will not exceed 144 feet. 

ESTIMATED DEVELOPMENT IMPACT 

When asked by at-large representative Karin Brownlee in September, Schuller said the developer had not disclosed possible tenants. However, the Olathe city staff report estimated the entire development could create 800 new jobs. The first phase is expected to add 158 jobs with an average salary of $38,000.  

City staff is recommended a series of limitations on the site, including usage limitations. The proposed development cannot be used as an outdoor storage area, utility storage, a parking lot or power generation.

Some traffic improvements would be required for this project as construction continues, including the construction of two new public streets: Rogers Road and what's labeled Public Street A.

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