Cracks are beginning to show in Overland Park’s investment in the Prairiefire. The city dropped $100 million in tax incentives in the mixed-use development, but last year, the developer tapped a reserve fund to pay interest on $65 million in STAR bond debt.
The 60-acre development is located on some of the community’s most desirable real estate on 135th Street just west of the Missouri border. It includes retail, apartments and restaurants.
Now it appears one of the development’s anchor projects, Cinetopia, a 21-screen movie theater, is struggling. The Kansas City Star reports the owner of the Oregon-based Cinetopia is suing movie chain AMC Entertainment on antitrust claims. The suit alleges that AMC used exclusive first-run showings of some films to the detriment of Cinetopia.
“Cinetopia said AMC’s practice, known in the industry as ‘movie clearance,’ torpedoed Cinetopia’s business prospects in Overland Park,” the Star reports.
AMC is based in the Kansas City area, and in 2011, state and local officials offered the movie giant $47 million in tax breaks and incentives to lure it (and its 400 employees) across the state line from Missouri. It probably didn’t result in its employees changing zip codes, since the company headquarters only moved 12 miles. Now AMC’s competitive efforts may be having a damaging effect on Cinetopia, and the Prairiefire development.
The Star notes that Cinetopia had unpaid rent due the Prairiefire development as of 2016.