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By JoEllen Black/Richmond News
Richmond City Council’s Finance Committee unanimously approved tax abatement for ClearPath Senior Holdings LLC to construct Oak Pointe, a proposed assisted senior-living facility next to Richmond United Christian Presbyterian Church. The ordinance goes to council for final consideration Feb. 11 at its regular meeting.
Under the state’s Urban Redevelopment Corporations Law, cities are allowed to offer tax incentives to redevelop “blighted areas.” While the empty 4.5-acre field adjacent to the church may not appear blighted, the land falls under that category because of its “obsolescence,” according to Jim Potter of Development Initiatives of Kansas City, who conducted the required blight study for the abatement.
Potter said the underutilized land, now city property, produces no taxes in its current form. Development would dramatically increase value and taxes for taxing entities, he said. In it current condition, the site is “an economic and social liability,” he said.
Jim Eisenhart and Jeff Binder, co-founding principals in St. Louis-based ClearPath Senior Holdings, LLC, told council members that property tax abatement would help keep construction costs in line for the project, tabbed at between $4 million and $6 million.
“We’re taking a lot of risk. We have a lot of money invested in all the preliminary site work, but also to fill the property. For us to develop this site, it costs more. It’s not development ready,” Binder told council. “We brought in engineers and did all types of studies. The soil isn’t as stable as we’d like and requires additional grading. Some utilities we need to be moved, along with (constructing) sidewalks; it’s a pretty long list.”