Guesa USA ‘reconsidering’ all investments in Sedalia

By Nicole Cooke - [email protected]

By Nicole Cooke

[email protected]

Several businesses across the City of Sedalia may be under new ownership next year, as Guesa USA LLC is looking to sell all its properties.

Guesa owns Dairy Queen and Steak ‘n Shake in Sedalia, as well as several office space locations across the city. Guesa also announced just last month it had purchased the former Eddie’s Drive-In property on West Broadway Boulevard, with plans to construct a building to house an urgent care and another yet-to-be-named retail business. The Guesa sign that had been placed on the property a few weeks ago has been removed.

The company had also entered into a partnership with Sedalia Bus Shelters LLC and the Community Transportation Partnership earlier this year to construct bus shelters in Sedalia, to be used by residents riding city buses wrapped in Dairy Queen and Steak ‘n Shake decals.

“At this point, Guesa is reconsidering all of its investments in the City of Sedalia,” Jorge Guevara, of Guesa, told the Democrat by phone Wednesday. He declined to offer any reason as to why his company is reconsidering.

City Administrator Gary Edwards said he had not heard Guevara’s company was looking to sell until he was contacted by the Democrat Wednesday night, and also did not offer any specific reasons as to why Guesa is pulling out of Sedalia.

“I’m not aware of it,” Edwards said of the possible property sales. “(Guevara) spoke against the proposed Highway 50 TIF district (at last month’s Tax Increment Financing Commission meeting), and I don’t know if that may be part of it, that’s what I’m familiar with. I know he has been active on the TIF issue, I don’t know if that’s the issue or not. He certainly has every right to (sell his businesses) but no, I had not heard that.”

Edwards was referring to the proposed plan that would create a TIF district behind the Galaxy movie theater and in front of the Econolodge, allowing future property taxes and other taxes generated by new development within the district to pay for costs of construction of public infrastructure and other improvements. Star Acquisitions, of Kansas City, has expressed interest in the properties if a TIF is passed.

Guevara, who is not a member of the TIF Commission, told the Democrat after the commission voted 9-2 against the proposal he was in favor of TIF districts, but not this particular one.

The Sedalia City Council will discuss the proposed district during a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday. If it gives approval, the district will become a reality; the TIF Commission can only give recommendations to council and does not have final say.

Adam Fischer, of Thompson Hills Investment Corp. in Sedalia, said he spoke with Guevara Wednesday morning about Guesa selling its properties.

“He asked if we were interested, he said they weren’t going to give them away but that he was interested in selling proprieties,” Fischer said. “We didn’t discuss price or anything else at that time. He said he’s going to put ‘for sale’ signs on the properties and they were not going to be going through with the urgent care.

“I really hate to see that happen,” he added. “In my opinion, (Guesa has) been a great asset to our community. We needed that urgent care, they’ve made a lot of investments without a nickel of taxpayer subsidies, but it looks like that’s gone away from what he’s told me.”

Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1482 or @NicoleRCooke.

Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1482 or @NicoleRCooke.

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