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OVERLAND PARK, KS-The Overland Park City Council has given its stamp of approval to a plan to raise nearly $98 million in state sales tax revenue bonds, according to an article in the Kansas City Business Journal. The money raised through the STAR-bonds will go toward the $575-million mixed-use project dubbed Prairiefire at Lionsgate.

The project, which is being developed by Merrill Cos. LLC, will be anchored by the country’s first museum to display New York City’s American Museum of Natural History exhibits. The agreement requires the 30,000-square-foot museum to host two six-month displays for 10 years beginning in 2012.

The City Council vote was unanimously in favor of the financing plan. The STAR-bond program was created to provide funds to tourism projects that would be unable to be build otherwise. Investors purchase the bonds and are repaid through the sales tax for up to 20 years.

The 60-acre project, which was originally slated to break ground in 2008 after gaining rezoning rights from the City Council. The project time-line now calls for a 2012 completion. Nearly $30 million has already been spent on land acquisition and pre-development planning.

Beyond the museum, plans for Prairiefire at Lionsgate call for wetlands and hiking trails, 350,000 square feet of retail, 300,000 square feet of office, 750,000 square feet of residential and a 100,000-square-foot hotel.

To read the Kansas City Business Journal article click here.

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