Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Kingman Crossing (media coverage from Council meeting)

MOCO's good pal Dave Hawkins sent me the following on one of my favorite local subjects...

By Dave Hawkins

The Kingman City Council has directed staff to proceed with due diligence in evaluating a possible partnership with the private sector that would involve construction of an Interstate 40 interchange and development of a major commercial retail center on the north side of the freeway. The Council voted Monday to move forward with consideration of the Kingman Crossing Project.

The partnering firms of Vestar and Vanderbilt Farms seek city participation in construction of a $25-million dollar interchange about 1 1/2 miles east of the Andy Devine interchange. They maintain the city should help fund the public infrastructure project that will enhance access to the east bench and spark a retail boom that will generate much needed sales tax revenue for city coffers.

Options for city participation in funding the interchange include a reimbursement of sales tax revenue generated by the commercial center and possible creation of two types of special districts.Vestar project director Ryan Desmond said any one of the options or a combination of them could be used.

"You really have to dig into the minutia of them to understand how they operate to see which of the three, or which combination of the three might be most appropriate in this situation," Desmond said. He urged the Council to hire someone with experience in the arena to represent the city in exploration of possibilities and any negotiations that might transpire.

The Council voted in support of having staff recruit an advisor-negotiator to look after the City's best interest. Part of that process would involve commissioning an analysis of the impact and economic ramifications of the project.

Any proposed partnerships and/or funding agreements would require future consideration and approval by the Council.

Local resident George Cook spoke against city partnering in what he branded a risky venture that should be left to the private sector. Developer Richard Campana, however, remains a staunch Kingman Crossing proponent.

"It's really crucial to the economic future of the city of Kingman that you do this," Campana said. He said Kingman is losing sales tax revenue to other communities that offer better shopping options.

Desmond said constructing the interchange is necessary to land tenants that are eager and excited to set up shop off the interstate in Kingman.

"I would tell you that the tenant market is very interested in Kingman," Desmond said. "They temper that enthusiasm, however, with the follow-up comment which is 'when you've got the interchange worked out call me and we can really talk' because right now it's a terrific site with no access in their eyes."

Vanderbilt representative Jerry Willis said Vanderbilt and Vestar have been busy in recent months working behind the scenes to advance the project. He said they've been working together to hammer out access issues along with state and federal transportation officials and representatives of the Hualapai Mountain Medical Center that is under construction near the proposed shopping center.

Willis also said they've been working with UniSource Energy representatives on easements to bring an electric transmission line through the project site and beyond to serve the growing east bench area.

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