The land for the Paola Crossings development in Paola has officially sold.

PAOLA — Plans for the Paola Crossings development on a 36-acre tract of land along Paola’s primary entryway near the intersection of Baptiste Drive and Hedge Lane are back on track.

Marlene Riebe of Crown Realty confirmed that the sale of the former Ursuline property to Highlands Development officially closed Thursday, Feb. 25.

Chris Williams of Highlands Development spoke to Paola City Council members during their meeting Tuesday, March 9.

Williams said there were some delays during the past several months as they conducted more traffic studies and worked with the Kansas Department of Transportation regarding a south entrance into the development off Baptiste Drive.

Despite the delays, Williams said Highlands is financially committed to the development, and within the next month, he expects crews to begin clearing trees and brush off the property.

In 2019, the Paola City Council approved the creation of a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district for the entire development, and approved the phased development for the Redevelopment Project Area 1 (RPA 1), which is about 9.6 acres.

The development plans also included the utilization of a Community Improvement District (CID) to impose an additional 1.25 percent tax on retail sales made within the CID boundaries. In July 2020, the Paola City Council also approved the creation of a CID for a small 1-acre lot on the south side of Baptiste Drive near Arby’s and RPA 1 in the Paola Crossings development.

Since then, the project has been delayed due to circumstances beyond the control of both the city and the developer, so Paola City Council members, during their March 9 meeting, approved an ordinance that ratifies and confirms the actions that have been taken to date.

The TIF district initially helped attract the developer. TIFs divert future property tax revenue increases from a defined area or district toward an economic development project in the community. The existing property tax base on the property will remain unchanged. The developer will only capture the incremental property tax increases on the property during the TIF’s 20-year time frame.

The city won’t be issuing any bonds to fund initial excavation or infrastructure work. Instead, the developer will be utilizing a pay-as-you-go approach in which he will put up the initial development costs and then be repaid with the incremental property tax increases from the land as it develops.

Williams previously has said the Paola Crossings development will be split into five phases. The first phase, which would focus on six lots covering 9.6 acres near the corner of Baptiste Drive and Hedge Lane, will likely involve retail and commercial. It is also the most expensive phase, with an estimated development cost of $14.6 million, Williams said.

Senior Managing Editor Brian McCauley can be reached at (913) 294-2311 or brian.mccauley@miconews.com.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.