By Susan Redden
Three new members should be sought for the city board that is buying land for tornado redevelopment projects being overseen by the city’s master developer.
That was the consensus by members of the Joplin Redevelopment Corp. who on Tuesday approved a change in bylaws to increase the panel by two new positions.
Three members will be sought after the resignation of one of the members — Kevin Russell — was announced during the meeting. Another member was absent, meaning remaining members Ron Darby, Brad McIntyre and Michael Hagan had to vote unanimously to pass the bylaws change.
The situation was one of the concerns cited by officials who said the board should be expanded so it could still conduct business if a member was absent.
“I agree; I think we need more members,” said Hagan, in offering the motion to approve the bylaw change.
Board members will be named by the City Council, and Councilman Bill Scearce, who is mayor pro tem, said the council quickly will begin looking for residents to fill the slots. Those interested may contact the city clerk’s office for an application or fill out a form available on the city’s website.
Brian Head, city attorney, told the three members present that actions at the session would have to be unanimous because member Brian Shaw could not attend. Head had said earlier an expanded board also would address situations when members who work for banks that have lent money to the board for property transactions have to abstain on votes to avoid a conflict of interest.
In other action Tuesday, the board heard a review of activities by the city’s master developer, Wallace-Bajjali Development Partners, from David Wallace, CEO of the firm.
The focus of the presentation was a proposal for a senior transitional housing complex proposed for development in the area of 26th Street and McClelland Boulevard.
Wallace said the $35 million complex would be developed by his firm, in partnership with O’Reilly Development Co. of Springfield. The project is to include a 50-unit complex for seniors who can live independently, a 40-unit complex for assisted living and a 24-unit “memory care complex.” The three buildings would be constructed on the southwest corner of 26th Street and McClelland Boulevard. A nearby tract just south of the Joplin Elks Lodge would house 40 two-bedroom patio homes. Wallace said the two properties would be linked so that residents of the patio homes could easily reach senior services at the other complex.
Financing is to come from nearly $25 million in private equity and debt by the developers, with the partnership to seek approval from the city for $4.5 million in federal grant funds that would be used for site development, plus $6 million in financing from the Joplin Tax Increment Financing District.
Funding via the city will be sought, Wallace said, primarily because of site development costs posed by the project. The market value of the complex property was $5.4 million before the May 2011 tornado and less than $1 million afterward, he said, adding “we’ll be putting a $35 million project there.”
The board approved a resolution authorizing a memorandum of understanding on fees to be paid by Wallace-Bajjali under a services agreement with the corporation.
David Wallace said he expects to be able to make an announcement in two to three weeks on development plans for property at 20th Street and Connecticut Avenue.