A proposed adventure course/hotel development in Roeland Park is two steps closer to reality.
The Roeland Park City Council on Monday unanimously approved rezoning of the site where the project would be built and a preliminary development plan for it.
Currently dubbed the Rocks on Roe (the name could change), the project at 4800 Roe Parkway, formerly home to a city pool, would be anchored by an adventure ropes course and a hotel.
Roeland Park has a letter of intent and a draft lease from Zip KC, which would operate the ropes course on the lower portion of the site, and a letter of intent from the Sunflower Group, which would build the hotel on the upper portion of the site.
The city also hopes to sell or lease additional sites on the western portion of the property to restaurants. The site is part of a tax increment financing (TIF) district that could qualify developers for a property tax break as an incentive to build there.
Roeland Park’s mayor, Joel Marquardt, said the project would add two things currently lacking in the suburb: a hotel and a restaurant/bar, which would be located in the hotel.
“It offers some nice benefits to the community,” Marquardt said, adding that the ropes course would be “an interesting use” for the lower part of the site.
In surveys, residents have expressed a desire to have the kind of gathering place a restaurant/bar would provide, he said.
Because the ropes course is still a relatively new, untested concept, the city is leaning toward leasing the land on the site rather than selling it, Marquardt said. That way, if it’s unsuccessful, the city would maintain control over other uses for the site.
Zip KC and the Sunflower Group both have said that the two projects aren’t dependent on each other, Marquardt said. But he added they would benefit from being adjacent.
The Sunflower Group seems to hold the cards on how fast the project moves forward, Marquardt said.
“Hopefully it happens relatively quickly. Zip KC seems to be waiting on the Sunflower Group to pull the trigger.”
The lower portion of the proposed site has been vacant since the pool closed in 1993. The upper portion is home to the city’s public works department, which would move if the project goes forward.
Zip KC also operates a zip line course in Bonner Springs.
City officials think the project would likely generate at least $73,000 in annual property tax revenue. An 8 percent transient guest tax that passed by the city in March could yield an additional $100,000 annually and sales tax could generate about $30,000.
Neighboring businesses also would likely see upticks in revenue, according to the city.
The guest tax would help Roeland Park pay for street and other improvements. The city would be reimbursed for the improvements, and that money could be used for other tourism-related city projects.