Overland Park is clearly booming with development, as tall cranes, bucket trucks and dumpsters fill the landscape from downtown to the south part of the city. But many who live near and drive by these projects every day wonder: Weren’t they supposed to be done by now? The short answer is yes.
But as the Overland Park City Council is discovering, worker shortages and other construction challenges are delaying some key projects like Promontory, Market Lofts and Prairiefire. And other projects that have been on the drawing boards, like 115th and Nall, are also encountering hiccups.
Here are five key projects that the City Council dealt with Monday night.
▪ 115th and Nall. Developers of this project by Block Real Estate Services say they need increased tax incentives to get the commercial component off the ground.
“This is the beginning of the revitalization of College Boulevard,” Councilman Richard Collins said in supporting the proposed community improvement district sales tax for 115th and Nall from 1 cent to 1.5 cents, which boosts the maximum incentive from $22 million to $35.6 million.
Last November, Block Real Estate services heavily touted the 37-acre project west of Nall Avenue, between 112th and 115th Streets, for about 600 new apartment units plus a high-end restaurant, entertainment spaces and offices. It would be located near Sprint, Black & Veatch, Quintiles and other major employers. Block officials said the complex would provide much-needed amenities for residents, workers and visitors to the nearby Overland Park Convention Center.
On Monday night, the council voted 7-4 in favor of the increased CID sales tax, after Aaron Mesmer of Block Real Estate Services explained that the added taxpayer support is necessary to make what could be a $252 million mixed-use project feasible.
Mesmer noted that Block’s original retail partner in the project, Dallas-based Retail Connection, has backed out. So Block is currently working alone to make the project a reality. Mesmer said the land, currently vacant, is heavily sloped, full of rock, and very difficult to develop. He argued a previous agreement for a 1-cent CID isn’t sufficient, and the added taxpayer support will make the difference on whether it’s feasible.
Council members Faris Farassati, Logan Heley, Curt Skoog and Gina Burke voted against the increased CID sales tax, saying it’s not up to taxpayers to help the developer make the numbers work. Supporters said if the developer doesn’t perform, it won’t get the additional sales taxes.
If all goes as planned, Mesmer said, Block hopes construction could begin on the first apartment building next April. The entire project could take until 2024 to complete.
The Council also approved delays in other key Overland Park projects.
▪ Promontory. Phase 1 of the large mixed-use project at the northeast corner of 91st Street and Metcalf Avenue was supposed to have been completed by the end of this year. But the council approved an extension to June 30, 2019.
Councilman Paul Lyons said Promontory has been hit by the same challenge as many others. Because there’s so much construction in the metro area, he said, developers have had trouble getting sufficient subcontractor labor to finish the jobs.
▪ The Vue. The $49 million apartment and retail project at 80th and Marty streets in downtown Overland Park hoped to be substantially completed by Oct. 1. But the council approved an extension until March 1, 2019.
Hunt Midwest, the developer, announced Monday that Parisi Cafe and Evolve Juicery & Kitchen will lease ground-floor retail space in the building. It will also have about 220 apartment units.
▪ Market Lofts. This 36-unit apartment project at 80th and Marty Streets across from The Vue has been plagued with problems and setbacks since 2008 but was supposed to be done by July 31 of this year. When it wasn’t, the council reduced its tax increment financing cap by more than $100,000, to just over $1 million. The project, adjacent to the Overland Park Farmers’ Market, is now supposed to be finished by Dec. 31.
Council members made it clear they’re deeply frustrated with the delays on the project by developer Paul Goehausen. If the project is further delayed, they’ll reduce the TIF cap even more.
▪ Prairiefire. The first phase of this ambitious 58-acre development south of 135th Street between Nall and Lamar avenues is completed, with the $28 million Museum at Prairiefire, plus residential and retail space.
But phase two — which calls for office, retail and possibly a hotel — has been delayed by an extremely challenging retail environment. Construction was supposed to begin in July and be completed by Dec. 31, 2020. Developer Fred Merrill now hopes to begin phase two next July and complete it by Dec. 31, 2023. The council approved that extension.