Today, Kansas City, Mo announced that it was going to TIF $5 million worth of spending on a new 16,500 square foot building that will house an Aldi store at 39th and Prospect.
Let me start with the good news.
1) I'm completely supportive of TIF money being used in the Urban core of Kansas City to help bring jobs, development, and resources to our badly-in-need urban core.
2) The new Aldi store will bring an estimated 13 jobs to this area of town.
3) Aldi is a great (and growing) brand, that serves low-cost goods. These types of low-cost food are in desperate need in this neighborhood that is in the middle of one of Kansas City's many Food Deserts.
So on many fronts, I applaud the city for funding this much-needed development in one of the city's high-need areas.
On the flip side, the building pictured above is an old Grocery Store that is in a strip mall at Linwood and Prospect -- a mere 7 blocks away. Could we not, less expensively, get a new grocery store to move into an old grocery store space just a couple of blocks away? This would have helped end the blight of an abandoned building, helped the store get open sooner, and been less expensive for the city to help fund since it was an existing buidling. Seems like it could have been an easier solution that could have left more available TIF funds for other projects instead of just throwing money at the situation for money's sake. Not that this is a bad idea, just that it seems like there is a better, cheaper option.