Archive for Friday, December 9, 2011

Orscheln completes deal for former grocery building, plans to open Basehor store in spring 2012

The “Marketplace” sign is gone from the former Wolf Creek Marketplace building in Basehor, as is the rest of the equipment that was once inside. A group has shown interest in opening another retail store in the building, and city administrator Mark Loughry said at Monday’s Basehor City Council work session that tax incentives from the city might help close the deal.

The “Marketplace” sign is gone from the former Wolf Creek Marketplace building in Basehor, as is the rest of the equipment that was once inside. A group has shown interest in opening another retail store in the building, and city administrator Mark Loughry said at Monday’s Basehor City Council work session that tax incentives from the city might help close the deal.

December 9, 2011

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Orscheln Farm & Home plans to open a Basehor store in spring 2012 after completing the purchase of the former Wolf Creek Marketplace property on Friday, the company announced Friday afternoon.

The Orscheln store will open just more than two years after the grocery store in the same location closed in late February 2010. The roughly 43,000-square-foot store, located on Wolf Creek Parkway near 155th Street and U.S. Highway 24-40, will provide about 20 jobs, according to a release from Orscheln on Friday.

“We feel the growing Basehor community will be a great addition to our company,” Orscheln operations manager Dave Hult said in the release, “and we are excited about the new store there.”

Among the items sold by the store will be lawn and garden products, farm supplies, pet food, hardware, electrical and automotive equipment, toys, housewares and clothing, according to the release.

Rick Powers, chief financial officer of Orscheln Farm & Home, said the company completed the purchase of the building from St. Louis-based Enterprise Bank & Trust on Friday, about three months after the company announced a conditional agreement to buy the property. Powers declined to comment on the announcement beyond what was in the company's release.

Basehor Mayor Terry Hill said Friday he “couldn't be happier” about the news that Orscheln was moving forward, and filling the empty former grocery store was a vital first step to further development along Wolf Creek Parkway.

“Expect it to be a catalyst for additional growth,” Hill said.

The new store will also provide jobs “that we so dearly need,” said City Council President Dennis Mertz, in addition to providing residents a new shopping option and giving the city additional sales tax revenue.

“Economic development is what we need to work on, and the city of Basehor needs more businesses,” Mertz said.

Hill credited former city administrator Mark Loughry with much of the work done on the city's end to bring Orscheln to town, saying he worked to overcome concerns the company had after two city council members voted against a state grant to extend Wolf Creek Parkway.

“We have Orscheln in the city of Basehor because of the efforts of Mark Loughry,” Hill said.

Hill also complimented interim city administrator and police chief Lloyd Martley for stepping in to lead the city's negotiations after Loughry's departure in September.

“Lloyd did a great job finishing it up,” Hill said.

Mertz also lauded Martley's work finishing the negotiations. Martley worked late several nights, Mertz said, attempting to get past several hurdles late in the process, including a requirement that the property tax incentives offered by the city come in the form of a tax rebate, rather than an up-front abatement.

“They were ready to quit, and Lloyd saved it,” Mertz said.

Martley said it was a challenge to step in late midway through negotiations between the city and Orscheln on an incentive agreement, and he spent many hours on the phone. The end result was worth it, though, he said.

“It was an important addition to our city,” Martley said. "It was something that we wanted and really needed. Hopefully, it will be an anchor to that particular part of our city.

The city council agreed in September to offer Orscheln a 95 percent rebate on property taxes on the building through 2019. Last month, the council approved an agreement finalizing the incentives. The store will be subject to an additional 0.75 percent sales tax, as part of a transportation development district created to pay back a state loan for the construction of Wolf Creek Parkway.

Orscheln had been in negotiations to buy the Wolf Creek building since at least spring 2011.

At a city council meeting in March, Loughry reported — without naming the company — that those negotiations had ended because the two groups' offers were about $1 million apart.

At the time, Loughry said the company had offered about $1.8 million for the building, compared with about $6.5 million of outstanding debt that remained on the building when First National Bank of Olathe took control of the property following the grocery store's closing.

In August, the building changed hands when First National Bank of Olathe was shut down by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., and its assets were sold to Enterprise Bank & Trust.

Orscheln Farm & Home, based in Moberly, Mo., will operate 155 stores in nine states after the Basehor store opens.

The Wolf Creek Marketplace grocery store closed in February 2010, just more than seven months after it opened.

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