Olathe, Kansas, plans to issue up to $810 million of taxable industrial revenue bonds to finance the construction and equipping of soft-drink bottling, warehouse, and distribution facilities that would be leased to a private business.

The city council unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday approving the Heartland Coca-Cola Bottling Company project and signaling its intent to issue bonds to finance the cost of acquiring land and building the approximately 1.32 million-square-foot industrial facilities on a 116-acre site.

The bonds would be special, limited obligations of the city, payable only from revenue derived from the lease agreement, according to the resolution. The lease would include an option for Heartland to purchase the facilities.

In Kansas, cities, counties, and the state’s development finance authority can issue IRBs on behalf of “creditworthy” companies to purchase land and cover construction and equipment costs of new facilities, as well as the acquisition, remodeling, and expansion of existing facilities. The debt is paid with revenue generated through lease agreements or direct loans of bond proceeds with private companies. Interest on the bonds is exempt from Kansas income taxes.

IRBs issued by cities and counties allow the financed facilities to be eligible for a full or partial property tax abatement for up to 10 years and a sales-tax exemption for labor and materials purchased for new facilities.

Under the resolution, Olathe, a city of 141,290 southwest of Kansas City, would request a 100% abatement, with the company making certain payments in lieu of taxes.

The bonds would be issued in at least two series of up to $405 million each, with the initial financing allocating $20 million for land acquisition, $185 million for construction costs, and $200 million to equip the facilities, according to a city summary of the deal. A subsequent bond issuance would cover the project’s future expansion.  

John Page, Olathe’s financial strategy manager, said the timing and details of the initial bond issuance were yet to be determined. 

“An ordinance actually authorizing the issuance of the bonds would be given at a later date, depending on the timeline of the project,” he said in an email.

The city expects Heartland to employ 675 workers at the facilities over the next 10 years.

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