Mayor Stays Close to City Hall with TIF Commission Nominees

The 13-story Hotel Bravo! project is proposed for a site across Wyandotte Street from the Kauffman Center. (Image from Hotel Bravo! developer)

In his first important round of appointments, Mayor Quinton Lucas has stayed close to City Hall in nominating members for the city’s most high-profile economic development agency, the Kansas City Tax Increment Financing Commission.

Three Kansas City Council members and one former member are among the six appointments the mayor is making to serve on the commission, which makes recommendations on which projects are eligible to receive tax increment financing assistance.

Former Councilwoman and attorney Alissia Canady was nominated to be the TIF Commission chairwoman. The current Council members nominated are Lee Barnes, Ryana Parks-Shaw and Andrea Bough.

“My objective is to continue to find ways to make Kansas City attractive and make our economy strong and bring in more businesses to create jobs and use economic development tools to stabilize communities,” Canady said.

The mayor’s other two nominees to the TIF Commission are Tammy Queen, City Finance Director, and Clay County Commissioner Pam Mason.

The TIF Commission has emerged in recent years as a lightning rod for critics of the city’s use of tax incentives.

During his campaign, Lucas promised to re-examine the city’s use of incentives with an eye toward less emphasis on downtown redevelopment and urging more economic development efforts be steered toward the city’s impoverished East Side.

Canady was an unsuccessful candidate for mayor in the most recent election, and was among those who were concerned about the city’s use of incentives.

Former Councilwoman Alissia Canady

“Quinton and I are aligned on our need to be more prescriptive in how to use economic development tools,” Casady said.

“In some parts of the city, all tools are needed, in others TIF should be used for a city priority as opposed to closing the financing gap for a specific project.”

And in a rebuff to his predecessor, Mayor Sly James, Lucas has nominated businessman Phil Glynn to be an alternate member to the TIF Commission. Glynn also was an unsuccessful mayoral candidate in the last election.

James dismissed Glynn from the TIF Commission in 2015 after he publicly opposed providing incentives for the redevelopment of a Crossroads building owned by Shirley Helzberg into a headquarters for BNIM architecture.

That proposal ultimately was withdrawn.

The other alternate members nominated by Lucas are: Andrea Dorch, Bobby Hernandez, Michael McGee, Matt Oates and Jeffrey Williams.

Alternate appointees will serve as proxies for TIF Commissioners any time they are unable to attend a Board meeting and on other committees as appointed by the TIF chair, according to Morgan Said, the mayor’s communications director.

Said said the nominees will next be up for an approval vote by the full City Council, althought that vote has not yet been scheduled.

One of the more controversial development plans now before the TIF Commission is Hotel Bravo!, a proposed $63 million luxury hotel near the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

The luxury hotel plan was first introduced to the commission a year ago, and at their last meeting, members voted to delay consideration until Oct. 24.

Unless the current commission votes to delay consideration again, it’s unlikely the new TIF Commission members appointed by the mayor will be in place in time to take up the plan.

The mayor also nominated five people to the Parks and Recreation Board of Commissioners: Jack Holland was nominated as chair. He is a senior executive at Stifel public finance and was formerly senior vice president at George K. Baum & Co.

The other new nominees are Mary Williams-Neal, Chris Goode and Scott Wagner. The mayor is recommending David Mecklenburg remain on the commission.

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  1. I really hope these new members will be fair & balanced in using incentives as needed, and as needed to continue to be a draw for building downtown and through the central business district , cross roads & Crown Center area. Creating and maintaining that energy and having a strong “heart” from which to radiate out from. I’m concerned the new administration may be less business friendly and lacking a vision for development where we would miss out on opportunities. I certainly feel a focus on other areas beyond downtown are need so we can build off the momentum and then expand ring by ring if you will out to areas & neighborhoods.

  2. Hope we get that 5 star hotel. The Kaufman is now internationally known but no ware for those flying into downtown to stay if 5 star is desired. This would be the last price in the Kaufman puzzle. After this they got to focus on office space. Get Spectra done, and Grand and a major new tallest tower in all the open space on the east side and then we will be where we need to be to sustain and Excell for the future and keep generations I’m town.

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