Metcalf office tower rezoning approved. Supporters want more green space, amenities

The Overland Park Plan Commission supported rezoning Monday for a $260 million office tower campus at 95th and Metcalf, although members also wished for a more pedestrian-friendly design with additional green space.

The City Council will vote in November on the rezoning that would allow Shamrock Trading Corp. to build three multistory office buildings, parking garages and a future restaurant on 34 acres between 93rd and 95th streets, just east of Metcalf Avenue.

The site is across Metcalf from Shamrock’s existing headquarters and used to house the Overland Park French Market, which is empty and will be demolished. It’s just north of a new Lowe’s Home Improvement store. The existing Olive Garden restaurant, 6750 W. 95th St., and Red Lobster, 9475 Metcalf, are not part of the development and will remain in their current locations.

Shamrock, a rapidly expanding freight brokerage and transportation services group of companies, hopes to add 1,000 jobs over the next five years paying an average salary of $56,000.

“It’s quite an amazing project. I like the looks of it, from what I’ve seen so far,” Commissioner Mike Flanagan told architect Kerry Knott, with Bell Knott & Associates, who spoke to the panel as the developer’s representative.

The commission unanimously approved the rezoning, but commissioners Janie Thacker, Ned Reitzes and others urged Knott to incorporate as much landscaping and green space into the development as possible.

“I respect your comments,” Knott told Reitzes. “That is our intention as well.”

The project would include a pond that mimics Shamrock’s water feature across the street, plus some landscaping and trees.

Thacker said she’d like to see more mixed uses and public amenities, as called for in the Vision Metcalf Plan.

Keith Gooch, a senior Overland Park city planner, agreed that city staff thought the project “could be better still,” with additional public amenities. But he said staff was comfortable with the planned business complex that includes just one restaurant in a future phase. The plan also envisions a pedestrian bridge to link Shamrock’s offices on both sides of Metcalf, but Gooch said that’s speculative at this point due to hurdles to its construction.

The developer is requesting tax increment financing and economic development revenue bonds, and those incentives will need further public hearings and City Council approval.

If approved, the project would be built in stages, with the first phase including a 12-story office building and parking garage. Knott hopes construction can begin next spring and be completed in August 2020. A second eight-story office building and third seven-story building, plus more parking structures and surface parking and a retail building, would be built as needed.

“At the rate they’re growing, that would be sooner rather than later,” Knott said.

Despite all those additional workers, and the expected addition of about 4,000 parking spaces in garages and surface lots, Gooch said the city did not expect negative impacts on Metcalf Avenue traffic.