R-3 board approves pair of important real estate deals

The Platte County R-3 Board of Education approved two important real estate items Thursday, Nov. 17 during its monthly meeting.

The first established an exclusive agency agreement in an attempt to sell property in Platte City near Compass Elementary. The second helps finalize a gift of land in the southern portion of the district which should ultimately serve as the future site of a new middle school/high school campus.

Both agenda items unanimously passed with a 7-0 vote.

In March of this year, the City of Kansas City made a joint announcement with MD Management and the Platte County R-3 School District. Costco Wholesaler made known its plans to build a new location at N. Platte Purchase Drive and NW 88th Street in Kansas City, Mo. – just off of Highway 152. 

The building will sit on the southeast corner of the 152-N. Platte Purchase intersection in Clay County, just a short drive from R-3’s current Barry School/Pathfinder Elementary campus.

In conjunction with Costco’s arrival, MD Management announced its intention to gift about 80 acres of land to the school district, located on the northwest corner of the intersection. The board’s vote Thursday approved the contract language of the deal.

“This formalizes what we have been celebrating for a little while,” Platte County superintendent Dr. Mike Reik said. “I think the big talking point between MD and the school district was when we would develop a future high school. That is something that in large part is driving their generosity because they have a residential interest in the south portion of our district.”

In total, MD Management owns about 370 acres of property on the four corners of the 152/N. Platte Purchase intersection. Costco, scheduled to open in the spring of 2017 is currently the only development there.

The school land will be directly south of a future residential development tentatively called Bittersweet Farms. MD Management hopes the promise of a school campus helps drive further retail and residential development on its property.

Prior to the gift, Platte County R-3 officials had been looking at land acquisition options, and the eventual partnership provided the ideal scenario.

Part of the contract requires Platte County R-3 to develop and open a high school on the site within 20 years. Reik has financial analyses showing that the district could bond between $30 and $40 million in 2020 without a tax increase to fund a new middle school if space is needed at that time.

Contingencies exist in the contract for scenarios where Platte County R-3 doesn’t realize its projections for a second high school in the 20-year terms of the contract. The district will be responsible for certain costs up front but Reik said the benefits far outweighed any minimal losses.

The potential value of the gift could be estimated in the range of $6 to $10 million.

“This is nothing to sneeze at in terms of value,” Reik said. “Wanting to be cautious but also recognizing this is probably going to happen – at least a full blown high school – after I retire but recognizing and definitely not wanting to place a burden on the district or future boards or administration. We want to make sure we are protecting ourself against an accelerated timeline.”

While adding property in the southern portion of the district, officials want to sell a portion of its land in Platte City after recently opening Compass Elementary.

The board approved an exclusive agency agreement with Zimmer Real Estate Services, L.C. out of Kansas City, Mo., allowing the company to seek out a buyer for a little more than 35 acres of land. In 2001, the district bought about 75 acres southeast of its main Platte City campus, which now consists of Platte County High School, Platte City Middle School and Siegrist Elementary.

Compass Elementary opened this school year on the site, and the 35-plus acres up for sale represent the unused portion, less the extension to Kentucky Avenue and right of way for planned street extensions to connect with Kentucky in the City of Platte City’s master plan.

The property will be listed as one parcel at $2 per square foot for an estimated sale price of a little more than $3 million. Zimmer Real Estate has also prepared scenarios to piece out the land into three to four smaller parcels, should buyers be interested in certain parts of the property – a possibility that could increase the net sale. The price was derived from comparable sales of similar properties.

Zimmer Real Estate would make 6 percent off of any sale, according to the contract.

“We’re pleased to be here and continuing the relationship we’ve had with you all for the last few years, helping you with your real estate matters,” said Michael VanBuskirk, an executive managing director with Zimmer, “excited to the see the asphalt down on Kentucky. That was great news for all of us, and as I already mentioned, that will continue to bring activity.”

Reik said the district didn’t see adding to the current campus in Platte City as a viable option for two reasons. First, the topography challenges on the remaining acreage would prove costly for a school to develop, and second, adding more traffic to the area would likely lead to unwanted congestion.

According to Reik, the previous school board bought the total 75 acres for less than $1 million, meaning the school could see a return on its investment. There has already been interest from developers on the site, according to Platte City city administrator DJ Gehrt said.

“Obviously, we’d like an offer in hand, but it would appear this was a very good estimate by the past board of education and administration,” Reik said. “So we’re excited to see what the market brings.”