In September 2010, the Prairie Village City Council approved Community Improvement District agreements for Corinth Square and the Village Shops, levying a new 1 percent sales tax at the centers for 22 years to fund their redevelopment and in turn hopefully increase business — as well as standard sales tax collections the city could use for its operations.
Three years after the CID tax went into effect, data show the numbers have headed in the direction the council had hoped at the redeveloped Corinth Square — though critics of the agreement have questioned how much of the improvement is attributable to the redevelopment and how much is attributable to a recovering economy.
CID collections at Corinth were $423,200 in 2011 and jumped 5 percent to $444,523 in 2012. The Corinth CID renovations — including a facelift on the center’s facade — were largely complete at the end of 2012, and in 2013 CID collections jumped 7.4 percent to $477,418. The total increase from 2011 to 2013 is just under 13 percent.
For comparison, CID collections at the Village Shops jumped 5.3 percent from 2011 to 2012, in line with the increase over that period at Corinth. But in contrast to Corinth, sales at the Village Shops — where significant CID renovations had not yet been made — rose only 1.29 percent from 2012 to 2013. What’s more, the rate of sales growth at Corinth Square from 2012 to 2013 more than doubled the rate in the rest of the city, excluding the Village Shops.
Those figures might lead one to believe that the Corinth CID redevelopment — and the addition of several new tenants along the way — worked as planned. But one of the most vocal opponents of the agreements cut with developer LANE4 says he isn’t ready to credit the redevelopment with the increase in tax collections at Corinth.
“I think that a case can be made that the increased sales tax collections have resulted as much from an improved economy rather than from the CID enhancements to the shopping center,” said Charles Shollenberger, a Prairie Village resident and one-time candidate for the Democratic nomination for the Senate seat vacated by Gov. Sam Brownback in 2010. “I do not believe that privately-owned commercial properties should be enhanced with CID tax dollars. Ranchmart, for instance, was remodeled with private funds and is doing fine without a public subsidy.”
Kylie Stock of Lega-C Property Group, which now manages the centers, sent the following statement from the ownership group regarding the figures, which were compiled by the city earlier this month: “This success story would not have happened without strong leadership and vision from the City. Specifically, without the City’s partnership through formation of the Community Improvement District, the substantial improvements and new tenant mix would not have been financially feasible.”