A controversial $40 million retirement community in Prairie Village will break ground Wednesday, five years after developers purchased the property.
But developer Joe Tutera was okay with the wait to build a senior-livng center on Mission Road in northern Johnson County.
“We were looking for years and years for the right property...It took 20 years,” he said.
Tutera, the chief executive of Tutera Partnership MVS, found what he needed in the site of the former Mission Valley Middle School, which closed in 2011. The development, called Mission Chateau, will have about 200 beds and independent living, assisted living and memory care residential options.
The center building, which will house the one- and two-bedroom apartments and other services, will be surrounded by duplex villas.
Mission Chateau, on 18.4 acres at 8500 Mission Road, is expected to open in September 2017.
The luxury senior community is a rental-based property. But Tutera said the property was designed to create a lifestyle. The common area will have an open floor plan with large windows. On-site amenities include a spa, fitness center and multiple dining options, a pool and a movie theater.
“It will be like going into a hotel or resort,” Tutera said.
The road to the ground breaking had several twists and turns as controversy has surrounded the project since it was unveiled. Some neighbors took issue with the size, and mounted a campaign against the development.
The original plans called for a 350,000-square-foot retirement community with independent living, assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing and rehabilitation.
Forty-eight neighbors eventually sued the city of Prairie Village to invalidate a special use permit issued to Tutera. After months of negotiating, Tutera and the neighbors reached a compromise. The new proposal scaled down the development to 286,000 square feet and the skilled nursing facility was dropped.
In exchange, the neighbors would not object to the new plan, according to settlement agreement reported on by The Kansas City Star.
“I think we are ready to move forward and have something productive on that land,” Prairie Village Mayor Laura Wassmer said.
Wassmer said lessons were learned over the last five years. Tutera said he learned the necessity of collaboration to get a project off the ground.
“Hindsight, the better process is to collaborate with the parties who have a vested interest,” Tutera said. “In this case, that was the immediate neighbors.”
Katherine Knott: 816-234-4097; @knott_katherine