By Gabriel Circiog, Associate Editor
The Citadel Plaza development saga is finally over with the city putting the cap on the long legal battle. The Kansas City Star reports the details of the settlement that was unanimously voted by the City Council back in November. The $80 million project drawn up over 10 years ago, that envisioned a 35-acre shopping center near 63rd Street and Prospect Avenue, fell apart when the project’s developer, Citadel Plaza LLC, sued the city in 2010. After heavily borrowing to finance the project, Citadel Plaza LLC sued the city for allegedly backing out of a promise made in 2008 to provide at least $20.5 million to help start the development.
The City Council decided to settle the lawsuits for $15 million. Council members justified the decision by stating that at the time they risked losing more with an unfavorable jury verdict, and even in case of victory they wouldn’t have received clear title to more than 150 parcels of land, which they received now through the settlement.
The next step for the site, announced by officials, is environmental cleanup. Neighborhood leaders are hoping something positive will come to the site and Becky Forrest, president of the Town Fork Creek Neighborhood Association, confirmed they are not asking for much: a quality grocery store and better housing.
Councilwoman Cindy Circo also envisions the possibility of a housing development, while Councilman Michael Brooks could see a business park or a decent convenience store emerge.
The city will issue 20-year bonds for the $15 million and the debt service is estimated at over $1.2 million per year. Future development is awaited to cover part of the debt service.