Shawnee County expresses intent to issue $75 million in bonds to aid Wheatfield Village development

The area at 29th and Fairlawn could be a $93 million Wheatfield Village development featuring a hotel, movie theater, coffee shop, restaurants and a modern apartment complex. (July 2017 file photo/The Capital-Journal)

The Shawnee County Commission voted Thursday to express its intent to issue $75 million worth of industrial revenue bonds to help 29 Fairlawn LLC carry out its nearly $100 million Wheatfield Village development project at the northwest corner of S.W. 29th and Fairlawn Road.


Commissioners Bob Archer, Kevin Cook and Shelly Buhler voted 3-0 to approve the move, which county bond counsel Bob Perry said doesn’t obligate the county in any way to pay any debt incurred by the project.

The developers would be required to repay the IRBs, which are limited to being paid solely through rents and revenues generated by the project, he said.

The nearly $100 million project would include the construction on the 14.7-acre property of a Marriott hotel, a nine-screen movie theater, a Johnny’s Tavern, a PT’s Coffee and a SPIN! Pizza.

The developers plan to level all structures currently on the site and start building from scratch, contingent upon receiving all approvals from Topeka’s city government.

County commissioners also voted 3-0 to acknowledge they had received 29 Fairlawn LLC’s application, which Perry said met all statutory requirements.

No members of the public spoke regarding the matter at Thursday’s meeting, though Cook said a number of supporters were present.

Developers Jim Klausman and Floyd Eaton formed 29 Fairlawn LLC as a sole-purpose entity to develop the property, Perry told commissioners.

The arrangement approved Thursday calls for materials, supplies and other items being used to carry out the project to be exempt from sales taxes, Perry said.

The developers aren’t asking for property tax exemptions for the proposed improvements, he said.

Perry said the resolutions approved Thursday would be delivered to Topeka’s city government, and governing body members would have seven business days after they meet next Tuesday to express a written objection, if they wish.

But such a move seemed unlikely, as city governing body members expressed strong support for the project in July after hearing a presentation about it.

Commissioners during Thursday’s 55-minute meeting also:

n Heard an update on county revenues and expenditures through July 31 from Betty Greiner, administrative services director. Revenues totaled $90,314,007 compared to a budgeted amount of $90,675,481, while expenses totaled $54,216,578 compared to a budgeted amount of $55,623,041, she said.

n Heard an update on activities at the Kansas Expocentre from its director of livestock operations, Justin Gregory, who noted that Thursday was the last day the facility would be managed by Pennsylvania-based SMG. Commissioners voted this year to arrange for the Expocentre to instead be managed by Philadelphia-based Spectra by Comcast Spectacor.

n Voted 3-0 to approve a consent agenda that included acknowledging they’d received notification from the Kansas Department of Transportation that, effective Oct. 1, it will reduce the exchange rate offered to local jurisdictions through its Federal Fund Exchange program from 90 cents on the dollar to 75 cents on the dollar.

Contact reporter Tim Hrenchir at (785) 295-1184, or @timhrenchir on Twitter.