Editorial: Housing, retail should replace Metcalf South Shopping Center

03/04/2014 5:00 PM

03/04/2014 5:01 PM

Razing Metcalf South Shopping Center and bringing in new housing, shopping and office spaces would be a significant reinvestment in an older but still very bustling section of Overland Park.

The potential for revitalizing and re-creating the long-struggling, old-fashioned center is in the hands of Lane4 Property Group of Kansas City and a partner, the Kroenke Group. They are buying the center as well as the nearby 95 West Shopping Center, home of a recently closed K-Mart. Both are on the eastern side of the bustling 95th Street and Metcalf Avenue intersection.

Lane4 has some valuable experience locally in reinvigorating older shopping areas. Still, the two large sites are a big challenge, given the scope of work that needs to be done in evaluating what to build and how to pay for it.

That scrutiny will have to include how much and what kind of housing might be successful in that area. Developers very likely will want to put in retail spaces, too, but must account for the other shopping spots within just a few miles of that intersection.

Officials in Johnson County’s largest city will have some influence over what happens there, given the likelihood of requests for large taxpayer subsidies to complete the project.

The two sites are included in the Vision Metcalf Plan drawn up years ago to guide redevelopment along that important traffic spine in Overland Park.

City officials should stick to the plan, which envisions a mixed-use project anchored by residential and commercial spaces. That would be a good way to help create a brighter future for that part of the city.

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