$25 million investment, sales tax heading to Wanamaker district

A $25 million project is coming to Topeka, and with it, a 1% sales tax to a new district on Wanamaker.

Tuesday evening Topeka city council members voted 7-1 to approve an ordinance that establishes a Community Improvement District or CID called Crosswinds Commons at 12th and Wanamaker Road. It also imposes a 1% sales tax on retail sales and services within the district.

That tax money will be used to reimburse the developer, Christie Development Associates, LLC, for the funding it will use to give the area a facelift.

Managing member of Christie Development, David Christie, says construction will begin next month.

“You’ll see immediate renovation of the fascia and tearing down of buildings and immediate construction starting by the end of February,” he says. “So you’re not going to have a delay, this isn’t a project that’s looking for tenants, these are tenants that are signed, committed, with scheduled opening days with penalties on me if I don’t deliver that.”

Christie says the project will create about 250 full time and part time jobs.t

Councilwoman Denise Everhart voted against the project, commenting during the work session that she’s received several calls from people in her district against drawing more traffic to the Wanamaker area.

The council also voted on several capital improvement budget projects. Council members voted 6-1 to approve $12.89 million for citywide maintenance and improvements to existing city streets, using funds from the citywide half-cent sales tax.

They voted 7-0 to use $300,000 to provide handicapped accessible curb cuts and sidewalk ramps at selected intersections throughout the city and to use $500,000 for curbs, gutters and street repair, all from the citywide half-cent sales tax.

The council voted 5-2 to use $250,000 of the citywide half-cent sales tax for citywide alley rehabilitation at various locations and voted 7-0 to use $30,000 for the Citywide 50/50 sidewalk repair program.

The council voted 4-3-1, rejecting a $5.2 million project to widen SW 10th Avenue from SW Gage Boulevard to SW Fairlawn Road, not part of the citywide half-cent sales tax.

The council voted 8-0 to defer whether to use $5.77 million to widen 21st Street until March 4th.

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