KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Kansas City, Mo., officials are defending the $8 million upfront incentive the Cordish Company is getting to build a new apartment complex downtown.
Representatives from both Cordish and the city said Thursday that the incentive was always part of the original deal to include residential areas in the Power & Light District, rather than a brand new incentive.
The project calls for a new 23-story apartment tower to be built on a small parking lot at 13th and Walnut.
Elvis Butler works and parties downtown.
"With my job being right across the street, I think it's very attractive to come and move downtown," Butler said.
He'd like to move into the new apartment complex, but the projected $1,200 monthly rent concerns him.
But Cordish executive Nick Benjamin said that the apartments will be worth the price.
"In a lot of ways, downtown is a more attractive place to live in than Overland Park," he said.
In addition to the new building of upscale apartments, Cordish will also renovate the nearby Midland building.
The incentive is part of the original downtown package - not something new, Benjamin said.
"You're talking about a $70 million project and $8 million in subsidies," Benjamin said. "It's a really small percentage of the overall total cost. The vast majority will be private money."
Jan Marcason, who leads the City Council's Budget Committee, believes the incentives are necessary.
"It's a priority to get (residents) downtown and so far, the numbers only work with some incentives," Marcason said. "We need it, we have to do it."
For several years the city has been paying more than $10 million a year to cover bond payments because the district is not meeting original projections.
But city officials hope new downtown residents will spend their money in the Power & Light District to generate the income to break that cycle.
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