If the Kansas City Council approves, the QuikTrip at 103rd Street and Wornall Road will be rebuilt to accommodate its newest retail concept, “Generation 3.”
But some neighbors worry that it would come at the expense of their property values. A key meeting on the matter is scheduled for Dec. 3 at City Hall.
This next-generation QuikTrip will include amenities such as made-to-order meals and specialty coffee drinks. The existing 4,400-square-foot floor plan will be built out to 5,700 square feet.
QuikTrip spokesman Mike Thornbrugh said the “Generation 3” concept represents a shift in the convenience store business model that puts QuikTrip in competition not only with the other neighborhood gas station, but also. for example, with the Starbucks down the road.
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“The old, traditional convenience-store-versus-convenience model, those days are gone,” Thornbrugh said. “Now, it’s us competing against big box stores, what we call ‘fast feeders’ (meals made to order) and coffee shops. Everybody’s expanding their offers.”
QuikTrip has 160 “Generation 3” stores built nationwide so far. No firm time frame exists for the buildout in south Kansas City
The chain is looking to expand at 103rd and Wornall, Thornbrugh said, primarily because the store has proven itself through successful and responsible business practices.
“They ‘why’ is we’ve operated there for 20 years,” he said. “People know where we are. Obviously, we’ve been very successful in that area.”
And “we’ve proven that … we’ve been a really great corporate neighbor,” he said.
But as the store readies expansion plans — which include taking over two residential lots and demolishing a pair of homes the store — and becomes a close neighbor of Washington Street residents, the six homeowners who will soon share their street with the business have given the proposal a tepid reception.
Gail Stevens’ home directly faces one of the homes that stands to be demolished. While flooding is a concern for her — QuikTrip’s property sits on land about 5 feet above her own and both are in the Indian Creek floodplain — and the increased noise and light are going to be an issue, Stevens said the big concern is the hit to her property value.
While Thornbrugh and QuikTrip’s legal counsel have downplayed concerns about property value changes, both Stevens and her neighbor Jacque Lancaster discovered that their houses had hemorrhaged value, according to the realty companies they contacted for a potential sale.
As soon as the city planning commission approved the proposal in October, Stevens and Lancaster queried real estate brokers and received appraisals around a third lower than their homes’ current value.
Lancaster’s home, previously valued at about $130,000, “will be lucky to get $90,000,” Platinum Realty consultant Mary Carlson wrote her in a letter dated Nov. 2. Carlson specifically cited the gas station.
“ … [B]uyers will steer clear of a property so close to a zoning change,” Carlson wrote.
Hearing the residents’ concerns in the October planning commission meeting, QuikTrip amended its plans to include a buffer zone. A string of 19 evergreens would sit between the Washington Street residents and the convenvience store. Current plans include the foliage inside a 30-foot buffer that starts from the street and ends with an 8-foot shadowbox fence.
Carlson wrote her email knowing about QuikTrip’s amended plans, saying “it doesn’t matter what kind of buffer is offered … You might as well be living right in the commercial development.”
Stevens learned the owner of the home facing hers had sold that property to QuikTrip early last year. She listed her home briefly in the late summer before the planning commission endorsed the expansion. In an email dated Nov. 7, RE/MAX agent Sharon Aubuchon wrote that her $130,000 house would sell for at least $40,000 less if it sold at all.
She reasoned that the noise from the newly expanded convenience store would “frighten” prospective buyers.
“My best advice is for Quick Trip to buy your property,” Aubuchen wrote. “Otherwise it may be a house you own forever.”
In response to the residents’ grievances, Thornbrugh replied by email that the the company is continuing to dialogue with governmental authorities and area residents. He invited concerned residents to contact the real estate department at the company's Kansas City division office, 913-362-3700.
Both Carlson and Stevens have written to council members Scott Taylor and John Sharp asking them to press QuikTrip for a $40,000 payout to compensate for the lost property value, and to seek property tax relief that reflects the reduced value.
The letter also included requests for a deeper buffer zone with a stone wall, among other amenities.
The residents said that their demands have gone unanswered, but that in a private meeting with Sharp and Taylor, they were promised a “no” vote on the expansion.
Both Sharp and Taylor sit on the Planning, Zoning and Economic Development committee, which will take up the matter on Dec. 3 at 1:30 p.m.
“Unless QuikTrip addresses the legitimate concerns of neighboring residents who want to protect their property values and quality of life, I will be forced to oppose this particular proposal … ,” Sharp said in an emailed statement.
Earlier this month, the City Council referred a pair of resolutions to the committee, one rezoning a .7-acre section of land abutting the existing plat, and another approving the 2.5-acre project area that will eventually hold the redone store.
The committee will assess both ordinances, one which rezones the two house lots for commercial use, and one which approves the entire 2.5-acre project. Residents in the area are collecting signatures for a petition aimed at halting both measures.
A city official, speaking on background, said the council has encouraged QuikTrip to continue working with residents in the immediate area. The Dec. 3 committee meeting will be both an open meeting where the public can make concerns known as well as the last step before the proposal goes to a vote of the full City Council, assuming it’s approved.
QuikTrip is also encountering citizen oppositon at a location planned for 33rd Street and Southwest Trafficway. While sale of the land at the southeast corner of the intersection remains pending, a group of area residents — including 1st District County Legislator Scott Burnett — have organized opposition that is not only objecting to the business, but offering alternative plans for the intersection.