The Dodge City commissioners held a special meeting Friday morning to approve the real estate purchase agreement with Casey's General Stores for a site connected to the city's Star Bond retail development project.

The property, approximately 1.2 acres on the northwest corner of Soule and 14th Street, will be sold for $455,500.

Friday's commission vote does not finalize the deal with Casey's. The agreement between the city and Casey's states the company has until Aug. 20 to close on the property.

City Manager Cherise Tieben said Casey's still has to fulfill requirements such as surveys and environmental impact documentation on the property prior to any groundbreaking.

Casey's wants to progress quickly, according to Tieben, and approving the agreement allows the company to move forward.

"Everything to complete is on their side now," Tieben said. "I think their goal is to complete all their stuff and do the close sooner than August."

Casey's will have to comply with city easements, restrictions and covenants when developing the site. The regulations cover all the sites on the property and specify building and signage size limitations, landscaping, and design features that complement to other buildings in the development.  

Casey's included its own provisions in the agreement. Included with standard stipulations that prevent another gas station or liquor store from opening on the sites north of the store location, the company specifically prohibited restaurants which derive their main revenue from pizza sales from operating on either of the remaining two sites.

The pizza-specific restriction was debated and ultimately accepted by city officials as well as the group which submitted proposals for the two north sites, Dodge Partners LLC.

Drawings for the proposed construction call for a 4,620-square-foot store fronting 14th Street with six fuel pumps.

The approved agreement moves forward the city's Star Bond initiative, with a 75,000-square-foot Sutherlands Home Improvement store set to anchor the development. As part of it's agreement with Sutherlands, the city has begun demolition to the parsonage west of the First Assembly of God.

Tieben said the deal with Sutherlands is nearly complete, with details of outside storage still being debated.

"It won't be anything that keeps us from closing," Tieben said.  

Getting city approval of the Casey's deal out of the way is a solid step to putting goals of the sales tax initiative into motion.

"It will certainly allow us to start the project going," Tieben said. "It allows us to continue to make the improvements we're trying to accomplish down in the Heritage District."

Action on the remaining two lots on the property won't occur any time soon, according to Tieben. The First Assembly of God has until Feb. 2019 to vacate the property.

The commission vote was unanimous; Commissioner Brian Delzeit was not present.

Casey's General Stores is headquartered in Ankey, Iowa and was founded in Boone, Iowa in 1968. The company operates more than 2,000 stores in 15 states across the midwest.

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