At the December 16, 2008 meeting of the Wichita City Council, a major revision to the development plan of a downtown Wichita TIF district was made. This TIF district is a project of Real Development, whose principals Michael Elzufon and David Lundberg are commonly known as the “Minnesota Guys.”
The changes to this plan were not made in secret, but the document describing them was buried in the 675-page agenda report (or “green sheets”) for that meeting. These changes escaped the notice of any local news media (at least my searches show no stories being reported), including the Wichita Eagle and Wichita Business Journal. At the city council meeting, no one from the public spoke or asked questions. No council members did, either.
The original plan dates from July, 2007. Highlights of the changes from then to now include:
1. Changing from condominium ownership to rentals.
2. Property acquisition costs are now $3,000,000, up from $2,250,000 in the original plan. The city is reimbursing Real Development for these costs as part of the TIF. Probably a primary reason for this increase is that another building is being bought by the city for the developers.
3. The cost of the parking garage is now $6,300,000, up from $3,750,000 in the original plan. This again is paid for by the TIF.
As stated in a document titled “FIRST AMENDMENT CENTER CITY SOUTH REDEVELOPMENT DISTRICT FOR EXCHANGE PLACE PROJECT PLAN December 16, 2008” in Section 2: “The amount of Eligible Project Costs is hereby increased from Six Million Five Hundred Eighty Thousand Dollars $6,580,000.00) to Ten Million One Hundred Eighty Thousand Dollars ($10,180,000.00).” This represents an increase of 54.7% from the original plan.