After more than five years of preparations, a $245 million sports-anchored development appears poised to take the field in Lee's Summit, in more ways than one.
Workers are winding down mass grading after moving more than 800,000 cubic yards of dirt at the future site of Paragon Star, which contemplates 10 multisport artificial turf fields and a large entertainment village on 190 acres northeast of Interstate 470 and View High Drive.
Significant stormwater and sanitary sewer infrastructure work also has taken place, with two new bridges built across the Little Blue River, funded through previously issued transportation development district bonds, said Bill Brown, president of Spectrum Strategies LLC, who is spearheading Paragon Star with master developer Phillip "Flip" Short.
Pending city approval of $30.5 million in tax increment financing bonds this fall, the development team anticipates completing Paragon Star's $16.5 million sports complex and associated facilities, such as bleachers and concession areas, by August 2022. A grand opening for the fields could follow in September 2022.
Although a seemingly fast turnaround, Brown told the Kansas City Business Journal that the mass grading completed to date constitutes about 50% of work on the fields themselves. With a final development plan for the sports complex already approved, remaining field work can proceed once an ongoing request-for-proposals for a builder is completed.
A submitted timeline reflects construction on multifamily units, offices and retail in Paragon Star Village beginning in the fourth quarter and wrapping up during the next two years. Three initial buildings — a mixed-use multifamily and office building, plus a medical office building — are expected to generate $13 million to cover a portion of the TIF bonds, David Bushek, Lee's Summit's chief counsel of economic development and planning, said in late August.
A neighborhood improvement district (NID), which City Council members advanced Tuesday, provides a fallback in case the project fails to cover TIF bonds. The NID could let the city impose $6 million in special assessments against 8.67 developer-owned acres of Paragon Star Village. The district gives developers an incentive to build out the village, with additional users and tenants beyond the first three projects, and provides additional security for paying down the bond debt should they fail to do so, Bushek said.
"In the future ... if we don't get vertical construction on the timeline that we've developed, which would create the (tax) increment, there is this backstop, which is the formation of the NID," Brown said. "It won't be in effect (if approved), and we hope it never is."
Although not part of Paragon Star's initial sports complex, previous plans have contemplated bocce, pickleball and sand volleyball courts; a trailhead serving the Little Blue Trace and Rock Island Corridor trails; and a future recreation zone with a children's park, zip lines, a ropes course and a climbing wall.
All told, Paragon Star Village is expected to include 375 to 400 apartments; about 200 hotel rooms, potentially in a dual-flagged hotel under one corporate brand; 90,000 square feet of medical and Class A office space; and other entertainment, restaurant and specialty boutique retail space.
Short, also the co-founder and CEO of Legacy Touch LLC, anticipates relocating the biometrics technology and memorial keepsakes company in Lee's Summit to 20,000 square feet of future offices at Paragon Star, Brown said in late August. The developers also have letters of intent for two restaurants, he said.
Paragon Star sits within a broader 309-acre TIF district that extends south of I-470 and farther east from the current proposed developments. This could bring the area's total investment to $400 million, including through potential future hotels, big-box stores or other recreation-oriented projects, Brown said.