BPU to receive $2 million grant for electric distribution feeder

The Kansas City, Kansas, Board of Public Utilities will receive a $2 million grant for construction of a new electrical distribution feeder in support of a new business under development, according to an announcement from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo announced recently that the department’s Economic Development Administration is investing to construct infrastructure needed to support new business development in Kansas. The grants are funded by the American Rescue Plan.

The EDA grant will be matched by $746,411 in local funds and is expected to create 936 jobs and generate $216 million in private investments, according to estimates.

“The Economic Development Administration is dedicated to working with communities to support their locally-driven strategies to recover and rebuild from the pandemic,” Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo said.

“These investments will create hundreds of jobs, grow our economy, and give Kansas businesses more of the tools they need to grow and succeed,” Gov. Laura Kelly said.

“One of my top priorities over the past two years has been to make sure Kansans have the resources needed to get back to work, support their families, and contribute to our ever-growing local economy,” U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, D-3rd Dist., said. “This EDA funding I helped bring to our state through the American Rescue Plan will do just that, while also supporting our water and electrical infrastructure. I will keep working to lower costs and ensure a thriving economy in the Kansas City area and across the entire state.”

The BPU investment was made possible by the regional planning efforts of the Mid-America Regional Council. EDA funds these organizations to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment and create jobs, a spokesman stated.

This project is funded under EDA’s American Rescue Plan Economic Adjustment Assistance program, which makes $500 million in Economic Adjustment Assistance grants available to American communities. The Economic Adjustment Assistance program is EDA’s most flexible program, and grants made under this program will help hundreds of communities across the nation plan, build, innovate, and put people back to work through construction or non-construction projects designed to meet local needs. Effective May 26, 2022, EDA has officially closed all of its American Rescue Plan programs for applications. The $3 billion program funding will be awarded on a rolling basis through Sept. 30, 2022.

Tory Burch store expands at Legends Outlets

Kansas City’s first and only Tory Burch storefront in the metro is relocating to double in size in a larger, permanent space at Legends Outlets on Wednesday, Aug. 17, at 1843 Village West Parkway, Suite C-117, combining two current spaces.

The new location will feature a broader product line, including the addition of Tory Sport.

Known for color, print and special details, the luxury designer outlet store offers ready-to-wear, shoes, handbags, accessories and more at an incredible value. The look and feel of Tory Burch’s permanent location will mimic that of its new concept store in New York, which combines a modern space with signature decorative elements inspired by Burch’s personal life and travels.

Tory Burch launched in 2004 with a small boutique in New York City. Over the past 15 years, the company has grown into a global brand with more than 300 boutiques around the world. To learn more about Tory Burch, visit www.toryburch.com.

Tory Burch joins more than 100 unique designer outlets, retail, dining, and entertainment destinations at Legends Outlets, including the newly opened Rue21 and Attic Salt.

The Legends Outlets is at I-70 and I-435 in Kansas City, Kansas.

Luxury apartment project may reapply for grant from BPU

Developers of a luxury apartment complex on the east side of Kansas City, Kansas, may reapply for an economic development grant from the Board of Public Utilities.

The Yards II project was turned down for a $425,000 grant at the July 6 BPU meeting. The BPU has an economic development fund that occasionally makes grants to projects.

Appearing at the July 20 BPU meeting, David Wingerson, a development associate with Flaherty and Collins Properties, told the BPU board that the project would not move forward without the funding.

He said the economic development request would have helped the developer pay for a water line extension to the north.

Phase 1 of the project current is underway, and phase 2, which is less in scope, will cost $21 million more in the current construction market, Wingerson told the board. “At this point, the project is a no-go,” he said.

He added the developer also was open to suggestions on how to reduce some of the costs, discussing how they could pay for some of the lines.

Rose Mulvany Henry, BPU board vice president, who is on the BPU’s economic development committee, said the request for more than $400,000 would have been on top of almost $900,000 it would cost the BPU to extend the water line. In addition to that was an expense to the BPU to extend the electric line for a few hundred thousand dollars, she added.

Together, that would have meant an additional $1.1 million the BPU would have to absorb for this project, she said. The return on investment just wasn’t there, she added.

The BPU committee determined it would be fiscally imprudent for the ratepayers to bear, she said.

Mary Gonzales, BPU board president, said there was some funding in the BPU’s economic development budget that it would not be averse to using, but it couldn’t amount to $1.1 million.

Jeff Bryant, a BPU board member who is on the economic development committee, said he looked at this as luxury housing, a for-profit initiative. It’s not low-income or senior housing, he said. The project also is not going to be a large employer here, the committee believes.

“We have to go back to our ratepayers and tell them why their rates would go up,” he said. It’s hard to justify a for-profit business, he added.

The apartment project is in an area near the state line; the name refers to the former stockyards area. It was described as more than 200 units near State Line Road and American Royal Drive.

BPU members agreed that Wingerson could resubmit the grant request to the BPU committee for a smaller amount.

Wingerson said the apartment project was receiving 20-year tax increment financing from the UG.

Bryant said that if the developer resubmits the economic development request, he would like to know the number of anticipated employees. The BPU also requested to know if more assistance is being received for the project from the UG.