KANSAS CITY, NORTH, MO-A proposed office complex near the Worlds of Fun amusement park is being given the go-ahead despite cries of concern from nearby homeowners. A Kansas City Council committee has given approval for the $93-million expansion of the Hunt Midwest Real Estate Development plan to further develop SubTropolis. The world’s largest underground commercial complex would get an above-ground industrial park.

Hunt Midwest is seeking tax increment financing in the amount of $60 million to pay for public improvements. Among the enhancements sought is widening of North Arlington Avenue to four lanes. Doing so will require the relocation fo six homeowners in the tiny Village of Minneville on the east side of the SubTropolis caves.

For weeks now, the homeowners who will be forced to relocate as well as those not initially set to be bought out have been claiming that the increased traffic, noise and congestion will reduce the value of their properties. In response, Hunt Midwest officials told the Planning, Zoning and Economic Development Committee that the company would also offer a buyout to four additional homeowners who live on North Arlington Avenue, as well as another homeowner who lives farther north. The new buyout plan now needs approval from the Kansas City TIF Commission.

Councilman Ed Ford, who chairs the committee, says the proposed buyout option addressed the needs of every resident within 300 feet of the new road, which will not be completed until 2004. Overall, the Hunt Midwest project will include the development of 1,334 acres above ground and 507 acres underground. It is estimated to take about 10 years to complete. Estimates call for the expanded facility to create more than 7,000 new jobs and generate more than $195 million in private investment as well as millions of dollars in new taxes. The development is bound by Northeast 48th Street, Parvin Road and the Kansas City city limits on the north, the city limits and railroad tracks on the east, Missouri Highway 210 on the south and North Bennington Avenue on the west.

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