The Leavenworth County Port Authority Board of Directors gave their approval Wednesday to a new incentive program for the construction of what are known as spec buildings. Board members then approved the first application for the new program.

The Leavenworth County Port Authority Board of Directors gave their approval Wednesday to a new incentive program for the construction of what are known as spec buildings. Board members then approved the first application for the new program.

The incentive program offers zero percent interest loans of up to $200,000 to help developers with costs associated with constructing new spec buildings. The loans are in addition to money the developers are able to secure from banks.

The first application for the incentive program came from Development Inc. The local company is seeking to construct a new commercial building at 400 N. Main St. in Lansing.

Dan Gutshall, who headed a committee that put together the incentive program, said the program is another “tool in the toolbox” to help with industrial development and increasing the tax base in Leavenworth County.

Gutshall said the Port Authority cannot legally loan money. So the Port Authority will provide funding, but loans for the program will be issued through the Port Authority’s partner organization, the Leavenworth County Development Corporation.

LCDC’s Board of Directors approved the loan program earlier this month, according to Steve Jack, executive director of LCDC.

Blaine Weeks, chairman of the Port Authority board, recognized Wednesday that the new program is not without risk. He said there may be bumps along the way and the program may have to be tweaked.

“To do nothing is probably not the right thing to do,” he said.

The five members of the Port Authority board unanimously approved the loan program.

Gutshall then presented them with the application from Development Inc.

He said there was a time crunch Wednesday because officials with the company were wanting to begin working on the project in December.

Members of the Port Authority board do not plan to meet again until January.

Gutshall said the loan from the incentive program for the project would be for $200,000.

He said the developer is planning to construct a two-story, 11,000 square-foot building at a cost of $1.1 million.

He said the building would provide rental space for commercial tenants.

“I think this is great,” Port Authority board member Bob Patzwald said. “I think it kicks the program off.”

He said the project may be great advertising for the incentive program.

The Port Authority board unanimously approved the application.

“We’re up and running Dan,” Weeks said to Gutshall.

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