Barbecue icon faces eminent domain: Kansas City MO Business Journal, 12/15/06

A barbecue mecca in downtown Kansas City took a step toward the chopping block this week when the city's Tax Increment Financing Commission's staff permitted condemning the property for a planned office building.

The TIF Commission on Wednesday authorized the developer - interests tied to Copaken White & Blitt - to seize the restaurant's property, owned by Danny Edwards, owner of Danny Edwards Famous Kansas City Barbecue at 1227 Grand Blvd., if a settlement can't be reached.

"Let's hope we don't get to that point," TIF Commission Chairman Peter Yelorda said regarding the use of eminent domain for the property, which sits at the doorstep of the new 18,000-seat Sprint Center arena to the south and the new Power & Light entertainment district to the southwest.

Neither Edwards nor Jon Copaken, a principal with the real estate development company, would specify how much Copaken has offered Edwards for the property.

Edwards said Friday that Copaken had made an offer for the property a couple of months ago that Edwards rejected.

The property's market value is $32,000, according to Jackson County's assessment department.

Edwards leased the building in 1983 with an option to buy, which he did a few years later. In May of this year, he looked at existing space in Barney Allis Plaza but said at the time that "(i)t would cost a lot of money to make that space ready for me, on my nickel."

Edwards also said at the time that the new entertainment district "would be a good place to move to."

In November 2005, the TIF Commission endorsed a plan for a $199 million office building next to the Power & Light District. Copaken said at the time that he wanted to attract a company headquarters.

Copaken also said at the time that the new building could be split among multiple tenants and that he wanted to lease more than half the building's 270,000 square feet before construction starts. The project also includes 50,000 square feet of retail space and a 1,300-space parking garage.

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