The owner appears to have left the vacant, shabby, nine-story former hotel building that sits at the gateway to downtown Topeka from Interstate 70 west, says Mike Haugen, the manager for property maintenance in Topeka.
Shawnee County plans to auction this building, the former Red Carpet Inn & Suites at 914 SE Madison, where the owner owes more than $ 233,000 in delinquent property taxes and has not made any payment since 2014.
Rhiannon Friedman, President of Downtown Topeka Inc., sees these events as a possible future development at this location.
“We hope that a future purchase will become a catalytic project for the community and solve a significant problem,” she said on Wednesday. “The property has real potential and we look forward to having it in the hands of the right developer. “”
But Topeka’s director of planning, Bill Fiander, suggested Wednesday that the property’s proximity to the Shawnee County Jail, 501 SE 8th, affects its potential to make “groundbreaking private investments at our gate.”
He noted that a citizen development plan drawn up by his department late last year proposed moving the city and county law enforcement – and possibly the judiciary – from their current locations to 914 SE Madison.
“Law enforcement (and possibly judicial) purposes, both operational and land use, could fit more naturally into the shadow of the prison,” said Fiander.
The Citizen Development Plan he mentioned also describes possible uses for other buildings in the immediate vicinity, including a proposal to “later convert the vacant former Topeka Capital-Journal building at 616 SE Jefferson for local government use”.
The building at 914 SE Madison was built in 1969 and is owned by CPE Topeka Kansas 1031 Exchange 32984 LLC, based in Dickinson, ND, according to records on the Shawnee County Appraiser Steve Bauman’s website.
The white concrete and steel structure has been empty since 2005 and was gutted in 2011, about a year after it was bought by the current owner, according to the Topeka Capital Journal archive.
These archives identify the specific owner as Bill Patel of Dickinson, ND. They say he fixed the problem or paid for it by 2018. any Problems Topeka city government identified the former hotel in citations it issued for violating city building codes.
But Patel seems to have “given up” the property since then, Haugen told The Capital-Journal on Wednesday.
Patel did not return a phone message he left at a Dickinson hotel on Wednesday.
The city of Topeka has posted six quotes for code violations affecting weeds and sanitation on the property at 914 SE Madison since September 2018, Haugen said.
“The city had to mine the property every six times,” he said. “The owner has not paid the bills associated with the property.”
The city also tried to pursue a property maintenance case in 2017 that 914 SE Madison was involved in, but couldn’t find the owner, Haugen said.
The district appraiser’s records indicate that property taxes were not paid for this address from 2015 to 2020. The total amount owed was $ 233,702.22.
Shawnee County’s Agents Kevin Cook, Aaron Mays and Bill Riphahn voted 3-0 on Feb.27, 2020 to authorize the office of District Advisor Jim Crowl to open tax foreclosure proceedings against numerous properties, including 914 SE Madison.
Crowl’s office then filed a lawsuit on March 3, 2020 that identified 136 criminal properties that are being considered for foreclosure, including 914 SE Madison. Since then, taxes have been paid on some of these properties, which resulted in them being removed from the list. However, the former building of the Red Carpet Inn & Suites remains on that list.
This property is valued at $ 690,000, including $ 224,360 for the lot and $ 465,640 for the structure, according to Bauman’s office website.
From 2009 to 2019, Shawnee County held an auction on the first Tuesday in September each year, selling properties that had no outstanding property taxes paid. Owners could avoid selling these properties by paying their property tax bills by 5pm the day before the sale.
However, last year’s auction was not held due to COVID-19, while this year’s auction was not yet scheduled, Crowl said.
Kansas law allows counties to sell criminal real estate at auction if the owner fails to pay county property taxes within two years of the due date for commercial property owners and three years of the due date for residential property owners.
It wasn’t clear why the county wasn’t moving faster to auction 914 SE Madison. The clerk who investigated this particular property no longer works for Crowl’s office, he said.
Crowl said he suspected that the presence of pending city law compliance cases against the hotel property initially kept it off the list of auctioned locations.
The county tries to maximize returns for taxpayers when it holds public auctions, and the presence of upcoming issues with compliance tends to discourage bidders, he said.