816 Business

Academy Sports, Menard’s coming to Belton

Updated: 2014-01-15T00:40:13Z


The Kansas City Star

A field in Belton will be converted into a 47-acre mixed-use retail center.

Belton Gateway, at 163rd Street and Markey Parkway, will be completed in two phases. The first phase will include a 58,475-square-foot Academy Sports + Outdoors store. Construction is expected to start in February and be completed and open in time for back-to-school shopping.

Academy Sports is a top sports, outdoor and lifestyle retailer offering hunting, fishing, and camping equipment and gear, along with sports and leisure products, footwear, apparel and more. The Belton store will have about 200 employees. Officials with Academy Sports didn’t return phone calls.

Belton Gateway’s second phase calls for an additional 174,000-square-feet for retail, restaurants and a hotel.

Plans currently include two 7,200-square-foot retail/restaurant buildings, a 19,183-square-foot retail building, and a 33,522-square-foot hotel.

Christie Development Associates LLC, Overland Park, is collaborating with Block & Company Inc. Realtors on the project.

“It’s a very desirable property and we’ve had a lot of interest in it,” said David Block, president of Block & Company.

Menards for Belton and the Northland?

Menards also wants to open near the Belton Gateway project.

Jay Leipzig, director of community and economic development for City of Belton, said construction could begin in spring 2015, with the store possibly opening later that year.

Menards spokesman Jeff Abbott said the company owns two properties in the Kansas City area — property on the south corner of the Interstate 49 and 163rd Street interchange in Belton, and a north side site at the northeast corner of the Missouri 152 and Green Hills Road.

“We hope to build a new store on both sites some day in the near future,” he said.

An effort to bring together the best of two cross-state Italian restaurants in Harrah’s North Kansas City casino worked — for awhile.

But nearly six years after opening in Harrah’s, Mike Garozzo & Charlie Gitto’s Italian Restaurant has closed.

“We decided not to renew our lease,” said Mike Garozzo, a partner in the restaurant. “It wasn’t going anywhere. When the Hollywood Casino opened it really hurt our business.” Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway opened in early 2012 in Kansas City, Kan.

Charlie Gitto, who owns Charlie Gitto’s on the Hill in the famous Italian neighborhood in St. Louis, already had a restaurant in the St. Louis Harrah’s. For the Kansas City location, he partnered with Garozzo of Garozzo’s Ristorante.

They decked out the large space with poster-sized black-and-white glam photos of famous Italian women such as Sophia Loren, Gwen Stefani and Madonna, and opened in March 2008.

The menu included dishes from both men’s restaurants — Baked Clams Oreganato, several kinds of Spiedini, chicken Parmesan, and old-fashioned spaghetti with meatballs baked with Provel cheese (a St. Louis favored blend of cheddar, Swiss and provolone).

While the restaurant opened as Mike & Charlie’s Italian Restaurant, the partners later added their last names to the logo to promote their ties to two of Missouri’s favorite Italian restaurants.

“Some people wanted Garozzo’s, some people wanted Charlie Gitto’s. But people liked the food,” Garozzo said.

Gitto was traveling and did not return phone calls.

Harrah’s said they “enjoyed a solid business partnership with Mike and Charlie and wish them both the best.”

It is currently exploring opportunities for a new restaurant in the 6,100-square-foot space.

To reach Joyce Smith, call 816-234-4692 or send email to jsmith@kcstar.com. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter at JoyceKC

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