Huge development proposed for east side of Goddard
By Paul Rhodes and Michael Buhler
Plans for a potentially massive new development in Goddard were officially unveiled Monday.
The project, spearheaded by well-known developer Rick Worner, would encompass 105 acres of land along Kellogg, just west of Goddard Galleria, where the new Walmart Supercenter is set to open in two months. Worner’s plan envisions Olympic training venues – or some other attraction – that would double as tourist destination sites, driving millions of dollars in related commercial development in the immediate area.
Key to the proposal is STAR bond financing, which would capture state and local sales tax revenues from the site and other nearby developments, and pump that money back into the project. Monday night, the Goddard City Council approved a resolution setting a hearing date in December for that funding mechanism.
Far fetched? That’s what Worner’s plan for Village West in Wyandotte County west of Kansas City was viewed as when it was launched. Today, the site includes Kansas Motor Speedway, Great Wolf Lodge, Nebraska Furniture Mart, a soccer stadium and dozens of restaurants and retail outlets.
“People laughed at me at first,” said Worner, who was at Monday night’s council meeting along with Korb Maxwell, a Kansas City attorney who is part of the development team. Today, no one laughs when Worner’s name is mentioned in connection with innovative economic development efforts.
Worner said he has been in touch with U.S. Olympic officials, and that there has been positive reactions to his vision of an “Olympic training village” in the heart of the Midwest. However, Worner cautioned that this vision is still in its formative stages, and could change.
“What we envision today may not be where we end up,” he said. Worner said he has been exploring Goddard and the Wichita area for the past nine months. He said a variety of references put him in touch with city officials in Goddard.
STAR bond financing was used to launch Village West, and Worner believes the same tactic can be used to spur a massive development effort in Goddard that would draw tourism to the Wichita market, and spur millions of dollars in related commercial development.
Local developer John Dugan, who owns the Goddard Galleria project where Walmart is about to open, is behind the STAR bond proposal, and was on hand for Monday night’s meeting. Dugan did not speak during Monday’s presentation to the Goddard City Council, but Worner and Maxwell both said Dugan and his future development efforts are integral to the project.
After Monday’s council vote, Dugan told The Times-Sentinel that he views the proposal with optimism.
“We look forward to seeing the whole program and what they’ve got to present,” Dugan said.
Maxwell said the success of the proposal would be a combined effort between his and Worner’s development group – Goddard Development Partners, John Dugan, and the city of Goddard.
“We’ll develop the attractions and (John) Dugan will develop the commercial properties,” said Maxwell. “All of it works together.”
Worner, who is mentioned in a new book on economic development, agreed. That book, “Authenticity,” by James H. Gilmore and B. Joseph Pine II, calls Village West one of “two up-and-coming experience hubs worth mentioning.” The other hub is Dubai, in the Persian Gulf.
“This has to be about tourism,” said Worner. “We have a great base here (in the Midwest).” He said the same Midwest market that has made Village West successful would drive the proposed Goddard development. With the right attractions in place, the project would quickly spur additional development, especially in Goddard Galleria.
“I hope Mr. Dugan gets dozens of phone calls after tonight’s meeting,” said Worner, referring to the launch of the proposal with Monday night’s action by the Goddard City Council. A resolution setting Dec. 17 for the hearing on the STAR bond district is included in this week’s Times-Sentinel.
STAR bond financing is a mechanism put in place by the state of Kansas to spur economic development. It allows state and local sales tax revenues from within a STAR district to be channeled into project developments within the district over a 20-year period.
Maxwell said Walmart would be a “large driver for sales tax revenues” that would get pumped into the project, but is not involved in the project in any way other than that it is about to open within the boundaries of the proposed STAR district.
The proposed STAR bond district totals 259 acres, and includes all of the Goddard Galleria development and the site Goddard Development Partners is looking to develop.
If a STAR bond project district is created following the Dec. 17 hearing, which is set for 7 p.m. at City Hall as a part of that night’s Goddard City Council meeting, the next step would be creation of a STAR bond plan for the district. That plan would then come before the Goddard Planning Commission and the City Council.
Monday night’s vote by the Goddard City Council on the resolution setting the public hearing for the STAR bond project district was unanimous.
Worner said he has investors ready to back the proposal. Maxwell said the development group has a contract on 105 acres within the proposed STAR bond project district. That land is located on the south side of Kellogg, immediately west of the Goddard Galleria development.
In their approval of the hearing on the proposed STAR bond district, city officials specifically made note of some exceptions to the district. Those exceptions are the Pate Addition, one other residential property and the rails to trails path that runs parallel to the district’s boundary on the south.
Read more here: http://tsnews.com/goddarddevelopment.html