Tax rebate approved for Columbia development

The Columbia City Council on Monday night approved a tax rebate agreement with Columbia Land Management, the development company owned by Joe and Patricia Koppeis which plans to build a large office, medical and professional park north of Sand Bank Road on the west side of Route 3.

The council approved the ordinance unanimously, with alderman Jeff Huch not present. Per the agreement, CLM will receive 75 percent of the taxes paid on the first two buildings constructed in the complex for a period of 10 years. For the third and fourth buildings constructed, 40 percent will be refunded to CLM for 10 years. If the entire $40 million project is completed, there will be eight buildings in all.

The project is still in the early stages of securing tenants, financing and design. There is no specific timetable for the start of construction, but some tenants have already committed to the project.

In other news, plans to repair the street in Columbia Centre that runs between McDonald’s and Columbia Firestone are being finalized, according to Koppeis, who is also the developer of the shopping complex. The street surface has been damaged for years, but disagreement among tenants of the complex has delayed repairs as financial liability was debated.

“We had some conversations with McDonald’s (recently) and now they’re not sure they want to pay their prorated share,” Koppeis told the council. “So, going through legal descriptions and lot lines, we can still do everything without them, they just won’t have access to the road. Nor will they have access to their stormwater (drainage). We don’t have to take it and we’re not going to.”

The secondary entrance to McDonald’s is on the street in question. And although Columbia Centre tenants don’t own their lots, they do bear the responsibility of maintaining the streets and being in compliance with city ordinances including the stormwater drainage ordinance. According to Koppeis, unless the McDonald’s owners decide to contribute to the street repair he says they already committed to, he will block their rear entrance as well as their access to stormwater drainage – which he said they do not own nor do they have an easement.

“They initially said they would participate, but because of the sidewalk and because of the pullout, the cost has gone up, but they’re really the main beneficiary of that,” Koppeis said. “So if they don’t want to pay for the maintenance or participate, they shouldn’t have access.”

The project will move forward as planned, with repairs to take place before winter and Koppeis paying for the amount McDonald’s has since refused to pay.

 “We need to get it done. I don’t want to start all over – we’re too far along,” Koppeis said. “But I hope that you all would contact them and express your enthusiasm for the project and hopefully they would reconsider.”

“I think it’s pretty sad that although they’re not legally bound to participate, they probably have 10 times as much traffic as any of the other businesses on that road,” alderman Gene Ebersohl said.

Koppeis said he’s not sure McDonald’s can legally refuse to contribute to the repairs, “but we’ll let the attorneys figure that out.”

Finally, City Engineer Ron Williams announced fall limb removal has been tentatively scheduled for Oct. 6 and 13. There will be more information included in this month’s utility bills.

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Andrea F.D. Saathoff

Andrea is a graduate of Gibault High School and the University of Missouri School of Journalism, the University of Missouri Harry S Truman School of Public Affairs and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville College of Education. She lives in Columbia with her husband and their twin toddler sons. When she isn't cheering on St. Louis Cardinals baseball or riding the emotional roller coaster of Mizzou Tigers football, she enjoys attending and participating in the many family events the county has to offer. email:
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