Brentwood officials on Tuesday night approved a resolution for city staff to work with Kansas City developer Gary Hassenflu on a financing deal for his apartment project on the northwest corner of Manchester and Hanley roads.
Hassenflu, who was at the meeting at city hall, is requesting 70 percent tax abatement on the proposed apartment building for 10 years. The resolution approved city staff to work with Hassenflu on a deal, then come back to the officials with an agreement for them to vote on.
A pedestrian bridge over Black Creek, on the west side of Hanley Road, is part of the deal if approved. The bridge was Alderman Steve Lochmoeller’s idea — as a way to compensate the city for the abatement, he said.
Hassenflu would donate land from his property (he hasn’t closed on it yet) for the bridge on his end. One sticking point is that there’s no guarantee the property owner on the other end will agree to it, Alderman Andy Leahy said.
Leahy also pointed out that the part of Hassenflu’s property the bridge would be built on, can’t be built on, according to MSD and the Missouri Department of Transportation — it’s in a flood plain. The apartment parking lot couldn’t be built there for that reason. Mayor Chris Thornton said he doesn’t know, but believes, that a bridge could be built.
Lochmoeller said if for any reason the bridge couldn’t be built, and isn’t part of the deal, then he would vote against it when it comes back to them.
Hassenflu said competing apartments, such as the new Manhassett apartments (called Evo) received assistance, and he needs it to make the project to work financially for him.
Resident, Louise Charboneau, who is running for mayor in April, said at the meeting that initially she was against the project for environmental reasons — it’s in a flood plain. She said she now opposes it for privacy reasons for the houses to the north, since it was increased to six stories tall, as well as traffic problems it will cause. She said the footbridge is logical, but not logical if the city has to pay for it.
Carl Karlen, a member of the Brentwood Architectural Review Board, called the proposed assistance “corporate welfare” and said it would be a net loss to the city. He said the apartments would fill up immediately with people wanting to use the Brentwood School District.
Another resident said two of Hassenflu’s projects have failed — Anderson Alternative School in Kansas City, and the Majestic Hotel in Hot Springs, AR. He said Brentwood would end up buying out Hassenflu after the apartment project fails. Neither Hassenflu or the officials addressed these projects.
Hassenflu had hired a firm to determine if the property should be blighted, which is needed for the tax abatement. If the city decides to do its own study, Hassenflu will pay for that, as well as all other costs in the process Thornton said.
Aldermen Leahy and Kathy O’Neill cast the only no votes. Alderman David Plufka was absent.