Apartments serving those 55 and older are a booming residential trend, and the Overland Park planning commission has just endorsed a project that fits into that niche market.
Price Brothers won unanimous support Monday for the mammoth $120 million, 500-unit Sorrento Place project on 13 undeveloped acres at the northwest corner of 127th Street and Metcalf Avenue, near St. Luke's South Hospital.
The project drew no public opposition at the planning commission and now goes to the Overland Park City Council in April for approval. It would not need incentives.
“This is a very important project,” Seth Reece of Olsson Associates told the planning commission, adding that it springboards from the success of Sorrento, a 272-unit complex also geared to 55 and older at 7700 W. 126th Terrace.
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Doug Price, president of Price Brothers, said Sorrento, built less than two years ago, is full and has a waiting list.
“The mature market has got capacity,” he said. These units would rent for about $1,500 per month, which he said is more economical than many senior living facilities.
Sorrento Place, with two six-story buildings, would have elevators and health care monitors on each floor. It would also feature underground parking garages with 740 parking spaces, additional surface parking, large interior courtyards with walking trails, pickleball and bocce ball courts, indoor pools and other amenities.
Many age 55 and older value properties geared to their age range and interests, Price said.
The planning commission endorsed the rezoning for a parcel that was originally zoned for office and an elderly care facility. The commission also supported the project despite the fact that it exceeds standard design, building length and density guidelines.
Design standards generally limit building lengths to 200 feet, while the longest building length for this development is 430 feet along Metcalf Avenue.
A site plan review committee found that the visual impact of the buildings’ large scale was mitigated by different roof ridges, a mixture of stone and multiple types of brick and other colored materials. The site plan committee will also review the final design.
“These are large buildings; larger than we’re normally used to seeing,” Commissioner Ned Reitzes said. But he said his reservations were alleviated by the location, near the hospital and offices and close to U.S. 69 Highway.
“We really tried to break up the facades,” Reece told the commission. The project will also feature pedestrian plazas and landscaped seating areas on 127th Street.
Planning staff said additional traffic from the project should not be excessive, and the developer will contribute $75,000 toward the future construction of a traffic signal at 127th and Foster streets.
Commissioner Janie Thacker said she wished the project were “mixed use,” with perhaps a restaurant or retail that would appeal to non-residents. But even without those elements she supported the project.
After the meeting Price said that adding retail or restaurant would have required different parking provisions and other changes. He also said there’s plenty of restaurant and retail not too far away, at 119th and Metcalf, and at Corbin Park at 135th and Metcalf.
If the City Council approves, Price Brothers envisions starting construction in spring 2019, with completion in the fall of 2020.