STAR Bonds: Museum of Art and Light

Sales Tax and Revenue (STAR) bond programs are a public/private financing tool available through the State of Kansas that allows municipalities to issue bonds to finance the development of major attractions, entertainment, and tourism projects, and use some of the state and local sales tax revenue generated within the district to pay off the bonds. This unique economic development tool provides a way for cities to not only boost regional and national tourism, but also create new jobs and increase tax revenues within their communities.

The owners of Master Teacher, Bob and Tracey DeBruyn, have approached the City for a STAR bond project in the downtown area, just west of Manhattan Town Center on Third Street, to construct The Museum of Art and Light. If approved, they would construct a three-story, 50,000 square foot state of the art museum featuring an immersive exhibit and interactive displays, creating a one-of-a-kind, hands-on, art and cultural attraction. The Atelier des Lumieres in Paris, France is a good example of the primary feature and attraction this museum would bring to Manhattan. See a map of the proposed expansion here. 

The project identifies a total budget of $43,600,000 with STAR bond proceeds funding $23,000,000.  The remaining roughly $21,000,000 would be from private debt and equity.  There is no expectation of the City to fund construction or operations beyond leveraging the STAR bonds and dedicating the City's share of sales tax generated in the District toward this project through 2026, at which time the City's STAR Bond District expires. Following District expiration, there is no financial obligation for the City and the developers will find private placement for the bonds. 

The proposed site is now within the current STAR Bond district. In order to amend the District boundary and incorporate the museum into the District’s plan, several Kansas statutes that govern STAR bonds had to be followed, including mailing notifications, studies, publications, conducting public hearings, and gaining final approval from the Kansas Secretary of Commerce. The City Commission approved several agreements in addition to following the two statutorily dictated processes below:

  1. Expand the current STAR Bond District Boundary (Approved March 15, 2022) 
  2. Amend the current District Project Plan (Approved April 19, 2022)

The below table details the City Commission action calendar for these two items: 

January 18City Commission Adopts District Resolution and sets District Expansion Public Hearing
March 1, 
7 pm
City Commission District Expansion Public Hearing & 1st Reading of Expanded District Ordinance

March 15
City Commission 2nd Reading of Expanded District Ordinance & Set Date for Amended Project Plan Public Hearing

April 5City Commission Project Plan Public Hearing & 1st Reading of Amended Project Plan Ordinance

April 19City Commission 2nd Reading of Amended Project Plan Ordinance

April 23Amended Project Plan becomes effective