Archive for Wednesday, October 17, 2001

Plans for Home Depot running on fast track in Leavenworth

October 17, 2001

After looking at sites in the Lansing/Leavenworth area since the beginning of this year, Home Depot may have found a home for a new store.

If plans go as expected, the Atlanta-based home improvement retailer could build a 95,000-square-foot store, along with a 25,000 square-foot garden center on 13 acres near the northwest corner of Eisenhower Road and Kansas Highway 7. The property is in Leavenworth.

Tom Gray, Home Depot spokesman, said the store likely would employ 110 to 120 people. The opening, he said, could come as early as next summer.

Gary Ortiz, Leavenworth city manager, said the Leavenworth City Commission was to hold a public hearing Tuesday night to consider the establishment of a redevelopment plan and decide whether to establish the redevelopment district plan on the 25-acre site on which Home Depot would be located. The property is owned by Hallmark Cards.

If approved as a redevelopment district by the city commission, the state's tax increment financing law would allow the city to apply up to $3 million of its share of Home Depot's sales taxes toward site development costs which could include land acquisition.

The one-cent sales tax could amount to as much as $210,000 in the first year, Ortiz said.

"In their proforma, they were targeting sales at $21 million in the first year and it would increase as they go," Ortiz said.

Ortiz said the city estimates it would take about 20 years worth of local sales tax to cover the $3 million in interest and principal.

Unusual about the Home Depot situation, Ortiz said, is that he thinks the project may gain approval quickly.

"The mayor is prepared to declare an emergency in this because of the land purchase timeline and the desire for Home Depot to begin construction in the last week of November or the first week in December," Ortiz said.

"They can't begin construction until they own the land, so they'd like to close on the property with Hallmark as soon as possible."

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