The proposal to build a new “Museum of Art and Light” in downtown Manhattan has received major momentum with the approval of $ 23 million in sales and revenue tax (STAR) bonds. Kansas Department of Commerce.
Kansas Lieutenant Governor and Commerce Secretary David Toland confirmed the issuance of the bonds to the city government in a letter dated June 7.
According to the letter, the approval requires the developer to invest at least $ 10 million and submit an analysis of the amount needed to fund an endowment sufficient to run the museum for at least 20 years. The endowment must be available when the bonds are issued.
“We are certainly very pleased with the Department of Commerce’s approval of the project and eligibility for STAR Bond funding,” City Manager Ron Fehr said in an email to Mercury on Tuesday. “He certainly has great potential to be a major draw for the community, region, state and the Midwest.”
The Museum of Art and Light Inc., a non-profit organization, will operate the museum. Bob and Tracey DeBruyn, a husband and wife team who run The Master Teacher in Manhattan, will serve on the organization’s board of directors.
Organizers want to acquire roughly $ 21 million in private donations and use $ 23 million in STAR Bond funds to create the three-story, 50,000-square-foot museum with exhibits and immersive exhibits.
The city estimates the total cost of the project at $ 43.6 million plus the cost of the land.
Mayor Wynn Butler predicts that the city government, at worst, will put about $ 750,000 indirectly into the project. That’s because the city is ready to repay the bonds that supported the downtown redevelopment by the end of the month. The local government uses the city tax and sales tax money generated by the district to help pay off these obligations. If the new museum is built, the city will continue to forgo this tax revenue, rather than start collecting it.
The developers expect the museum to generate more than $ 15 million in sales per year from visitors who visit the museum and spend time in Manhattan.
“If it does and you can believe those numbers, it’s a great investment,” Butler told the Mercury Tuesday morning. “I don’t know if I’m buying the numbers.”
At Tuesday’s city committee meeting, commissioners planned to vote on the final approval of the funding agreement, essentially changing the redevelopment plan that originally created the Flint Hills Discovery Center. The new museum should be built next door.
The next steps are zoning and development agreements, city spokeswoman Vivienne Uccello said.
“I’ve always talked about responsible growth,” said Butler. “I think that fits the bill. It’s not another (Flint Hills Discovery Center). ”