A massive empty lot near the southwest corner of U.S. 69 and College Boulevard will soon be bustling with activity.
By JENNIFER BHARGAVA
Special to The Star
At its meeting Monday night, the Overland Park City Council approved rezoning for the area, to allow high-rise apartments, office buildings and mixed-use development.
The council also approved a special use permit for a senior living facility to be built on the site.
The road to victory for the applicant, BK Properties, LLC, has been a bumpy one.
Concerns from city staff and residents living in surrounding neighborhoods caused the developers to make several changes to the plan over recent months.
One of the neighbors’ biggest concerns was the density of the project. To address that issue, the developers rearranged the site plan so the higher-density buildings would sit in the middle of the property and near the highway.
In addition, city staff had expressed concern about the lack of green space, so the developers created structured parking garages and underground parking to remove asphalt and significantly increase landscape.
“We had three very large neighborhood meetings to get a sense of what people wanted to see at the site,” said Chase Simmons, the legal representative for the applicant. “As we’ve moved through this process, we’ve received an overwhelming response from people, which has been positive. People are excited about the project.”
The developers’ flexibility to appease major concerns impressed the council.
“I’m excited about the mixed use, I hope it works,” said Council President David White. “I like how the higher-density buildings were moved toward the middle of the site. I think this plan has been tweaked as much as it possibly could be.”
The council also approved a Transportation Development District, in which the developer will finance a parking structure for the mixed-use portion of the project in the amount of $7.6 million. The developer will use a 1 cent sales tax levied at the development to pay its loan back within 22 years.
The council approved a Community Improvement District to finance infrastructure improvements in the amount of $6 million. No sales tax will be levied for those improvements; the developer will come up with a plan to pay back the $6 million.
It also approved the issue of Economic Development Revenue Bonds for the developers to obtain an exemption on sales taxes levied by Kansas governmental entities for construction materials, equipment and furnishings for the project.