Kingland Systems tries to reach compromise with City Council on Campustown retail space


Courtesy of Kristysk

The City Council released the plans for the new Kingland Systems building located in Campustown.

Emelie Knobloch

A compromise by Kingland Systems for the Kingland Redevelopment Project was brought to the City Council’s attention during Fall Break.

Kingland Systems has proposed a prohibition on adult entertainment facilities, casinos, gambling, firearms shooting ranges, massage parlors and hot tub facility usage in the expansion project.

Kingland Systems has also proposed that a drive-thru be prohibited unless later approved by City Council.

“I believe that it is in the students’ best interest to keep the first floor retail space,” said Alexandria Harvey, student representative on the council.

A compromise between Kingland Systems and the city regarding retail space after the contract was passed.

“I would be more comfortable with a contractual agreement that guaranteed the first floor stay retail in perpetuity or that a standard be set in place to ensure they charge a fair market rent,” Harvey said.

The compromise obligates Kingland Systems to keep 75 percent of space as retail an additional 10 years after the original 10-year contract expires.

“It is important to note that GSB recently passed a resolution in which they supported the permanence of the first floor staying retail,” Harvey said.

If, during the additional 10-year period, a space on the ground floor becomes vacant for more than 12 continuous months, the space may be leased for any use allowed by the current zoning code.

“I would encourage students to write City Council, university administration and attend the public hearing set for Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. in City Council Chambers at City Hall,” Harvey said.

City Council member Victoria Szopinski said she did not feel that what was being offered was really a compromise.

“I believe that students want the ground floor to remain retail,” Szopinski said. “I believe it should be required for more than 10 years.”

Szopinski said she wants to see more return from the city’s investment.

“There has to be some level of trust,” said council member Tom Wacha. “If there is demand for services by the students, it would be beneficial to the developer as well, to retain those uses.”

Due to the Tax Increment Financing agreement made between the council and Kingland Systems, the city has been asked to provide more than $2 million for the project.

In return, the city will be asking the developer for added regulations on top of the regular city requirements.

Todd Rognes, chief financial officer of Kingland Systems, said it was reasonable to agree to maintain retail on the first floor during the 10-year period of the contract.

“We believe that after the 10 years, the market will dictate what happens,” Rogness said.

Council members Peter Orazem and Jeremy Davis moved to direct the staff to combine all of these concepts into a TIF agreement to be voted on at the Dec. 10 meeting.