Construction has begun on the east side of the New Century Commerce Center after last month’s groundbreaking.
The consent agenda item was pulled for discussion at the Thursday, June 23 meeting for further discussion.
VanTrust requested covenants, conditions, restrictions and grant of easements to establish quality standards for development and construction phases, infrastructure requirements and financing, land use and design guidelines for common areas and related expenses and the operation and maintenance of the commerce center and the area set aside for aviation use. The Johnson County Airport Commission had approved it prior.
Charlotte O’Hara, commissioner, said VanTrust was given a 75 percent abatement for the deal.
“I am concerned about the erosion of the tax base from Industrial Bonds,” she said. “Action is necessary but this is bad public policy.”
Ed Eilert, chair, said the deal was good for economic development and creating wealth and jobs in the county for the county’s future success.
O’Hara said economic development promises all taxpayers benefit.
Cindy Dunham, legal counsel, said the plan addresses general areas of commerce and the leasing and operations of the commerce center.
Shirley Allenbrand, commissioner, said she was looking forward to the help of relief to truck routes.
Janee Hanzlick, commissioner, said she wanted a brief overview of development.
“It’s designed to bring in funding for the airport,” she said. “The plan came out of the Airport Commission and was carefully regarded and carefully studied every step of the way to save taxpayers in the end.”
O’Hara said it was best plans laid.
“New Century Link building sits vacant because no one wants it,”she said. “They’re only paying 25 percent of taxes. Unemployment rate is 1.7 percent and it is difficult to find employees. There is more demand on the workforce. People just aren’t here.”
O’Hara said warehouses are going to automation.
“Economic development for who,” she said. “Not for the common man. The common person is being so squeezed.”
Michael Ashcraft, commissioner, said it had been discussed for a number of years and there had been concerns about some economic development tools.
“It has a role and benefits some,” he said. “Johnson County is vibrant and strong without the heavy use of some tools. It is a valid concern. The well-being and economic interest of the county as a whole should be concerned.”
Hanzlick said nothing had been without careful consideration.
“Go back and look at actual data on project,”she said.
The Master Development Agreement established basic terms for the proposed development including conceptual development plans, infrastructure improvements, project economics, a marketing plan and other structural provisions. On October 21, 2021, the Board approved a Master Development Plan that built off the structure outlined in the Master Development Agreement and addresses details including development and construction phases, infrastructure requirements and financing, land use and design guidelines.
VanTrust Real Estate facilitating master development plan for the New Century Commerce Center