In a phone conversation on Wednesday, Newton City Manager Bob Myers told The Kansan the city has agreed to to have Springsted (the city's financial advisors) set up an arrangement with Occidental Management Inc., so Occidental could share financial information about their project with the City of Newton in a confidential way.
Occidental Management's intended development is for a $70 million complex on an 80 acre property along South Kansas Ave. – south of Orscheln Farm and Home and Arby's. The developers have owned the property for more than three years.
Myers said that confidentiality is designed to protect some of Occidental Management's information, such as what their costs or revenue projections would be, from their competitors.
Through this arrangement, Occidental could provide their financial information to Springsted, which would prepare a financial analysis of that information – namely a cost benefit analysis – allowing the city to see what it is intended to contribute to the project and what revenues it could produce.
Myers said the process has already begun and that Springsted has let the city know it received Occidental's information. Springsted is now completing an analysis that will be brought to the city in the near future. Once it is received, it will be before the city commission.
Receiving the financial figures could lead to further negotiation regarding the project, but Myers said it at least provides a starting point for discussions.
A big thing the city needs to know is what Occidental would need in terms of infrastructural improvements and what part of that would need to be done at city taxpayer expense, Myers said, as well as what that would mean if the city needed to finance those costs and incur debt, what revenues the city might have to use and what it would mean for taxpayers.
Once developers get a proposal on the table with cities, Myers said they often desire an expedited review. The city has been waiting for quite some time to get details about what Occidental is proposing and about its needs, but Occidental is now trying to move forward quickly.
Myers said this is a common situation.
"As soon as we have the analysis from our financial advisors, we'll certainly expedite our end of this – to get this in front of the commission and to get some direction from them as to how they wish staff to proceed in terms of follow up discussions with Occidental," Myers said.
Myers also said city staff understands and is sensitive to Occidental's timetable, and a clearer timetable might be outlined once the financial proposal is submitted to the city.
From what he has told by financial advisors, Myers said Occidental is hoping to begin some work at the property in 2017, although what that work would be is unclear.
According to Myers, some of Occidental's plans for the development of their property would include commercial pad sites along the street – things like a restaurant, a branch bank or similar venues.
To the west of that, Myers said Occidental is planning to construct a shopping center with one or two large stores that would act as anchor tenants – with several smaller retail tenants there, as well.
Further to the west, in what Myers said would be later phases of development, Occidental is talking about an apartment complex and a senior housing complex of some sort.
In addition, Myers said one of the phases could include some office structures.
"I think what they have in mind are stand-alone structures, such as medical offices or buildings that might benefit from nearby Newton Med," Myers said.
To his knowledge, Myers said the first phase of Occidental's development would include mostly commercial venues, and other venues would be phased in later.
While those plans could change in one fashion or another, Myers said that is what Occidental originally sketched out.