Manhattan not expecting to see return on Tallgrass eco-devo investments

Manhattan Deputy City Manager Jason Hilgers expects the city won’t see any more return on $317,000 of investments it made in the Tallgrass Brewing Company. He presented the annual economic development report at the city commission work session Tuesday.
Tallgrass suspended operations last August after negotiations with new investors languished. Recapitalization efforts seem to have failed for the time being as Hilgers says the company and its real estate is now held by Landmark Bank.
“I do believe they’re obviously trying to find a prospective buyer or someone to occupy that space,” Hilgers says. “A lot of rumors around about whether another brewery will be there — time will tell. Nothing definite for us to report this evening.”
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Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Director Trent Armbrust says there is national marketing of the building being done through the bank.
In addition to the more than $300,000 in city investment, Tallgrass also received more than $250,000 in loans from Manhattan of which $150,000 is still owed. Just under $96,000 was forgiven, though Tallgrass offset that partially with a $6,000 payment based on the company’s economic performance.
Tallgrass was just one of multiple recipients of city economic development funds since 1995. Job growth as a result of eco-devo initiatives using those dollars are estimated at 1463 new jobs over the past nearly 25 years.
Hilgers says it does not appear that those loans will be honored, though $75,000 of the remaining balance is subject to repayment — though he says that is unlikely. Independently, Tallgrass made $5.9 million in capital investments.
The good news, he says, is Tallgrass paid their 2017 property taxes.
“[Those taxes amounted to] just over $100,000 when you took their property taxes and specials,” Hilgers says. “We anticipate they’ll make the 2018 payment, we don’t anticipate any hiccups there — which will be another $115,000 back to the community for that site.”
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Hilgers says that in the long-run they need a business to re-occupy the old Tallgrass building and start generating revenue again (aside from the property taxes that have continued rolling in), but that more than likely their agreement will stop and the $317,000 that is “out the door will probably stay that way.”
Note: The situation with Tallgrass Brewing Company does not affect operations at Tallgrass Tap House. They are a separate company with exclusive licensing to use the Tallgrass recipe and branding.

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