Long a skeptic of KC's need for affordable housing, City manager Troy Schulte spoke at Wednesday's glitzy opening of the taxpayer- subsidized Arterra luxury highrise. At the event, Schulte said the incentives were needed for the luxury apartment building, because of the history of the site and the required cleanup. "This is what investment does in the urban core," Schulte said. "This is why incentives are so important. And it gets lost in the argument about well we should let the market work." We agree somewhat, but here is where the City loses its own argument.
At KC TIF Watch, we say that use of local funds for residual cleanup after the EPA finished might have been okay. But at that point, the highly marketable site should have been sold at market rate, letting the market work. The proceeds should then have been returned to the school districts and other public services that lost revenue to the abatement.
The Arterra project, which was built by City Hall favorites JE Dunn Construction, also includes first-floor retail, an integrated parking garage and high-end amenity spaces, including an infinity pool overlooking Liberty Memorial and Penn Valley Park, as well as a 12th-floor amenity suite offering skyline views. Nice digs if you can afford it. Too bad we all have to pay for it.
Source: KCBJ (apologies paywall)