Overland Park moves forward with financial guarantees for future phase of Bluhawk development

Overland Park's Finance, Administration and Economic Development committee this week approved a guarantee of $6.9 million of the Bluhawk development's second phase of public financing. The developer Price Brothers hopes to break ground on the first phase of development of a multi-sport complex and retail hub later this year. Rendering from Bluhawk website

An Overland Park City Council committee took another step this week to move forward on future development at the the closely watched Bluhawk site. 

At its meeting Wednesday, the city’s Finance, Administration and Economic Committee approved an amendment to Bluhawk’s development agreement that, in essence, serves as a bit of financial security for developer Price Brothers for the second phase of work at the nearly 280-acre site. 

The amendment ensures $6.9 million in funding for the project’s second phase, which includes the building of part of the commercial development’s multi-sport complex.

Price Brothers sought the guarantee in case a future city council or the state later fails to issue public financing for the project’s next phase. 

The current development agreement for Bluhawk offers Price Brothers a total of $60.5 million in public tax incentives, which the developer earns access to in phases as they complete different parts of the project. 

The Kansas City Business Journal has previously reported that the developer is targeting a groundbreaking later this spring or summer on the first phase of the multi-sport complex.

The current development agreement requires the first phase of the multi-sport complex and a portion of the retail space be completed by April 30, 2024.

The measure approved Wednesday applies to the second phase of development. For that phase — which would entail finishing the multi-sports complex and more retail — the deadline to begin work is currently December 31, 2023.

The amendment previously came before the Overland Park City Council in January, following the FAED committee’s initial review and recommendation for approval in October

Project attorney Todd LaSala said in the case of a later bond denial, Bluhawk developers would proceed with $16.9 million. They would build out the retail component of the project’s second phase but not the multi-sport facility. 

“The only thing that changes is the kind of unusual scenario that is contemplated now,” he said. “If they’re ready to go and they want to build Phase 2 of multi-sport but you say no to those bonds, they will not build that. But they will have to complete all the retail that goes with it.” 

The motion passed on a 5 to 1 vote, with committee member Jeff Cox voting against it.