Two rundown Overland Park motels to be demolished. Posh new hotel no longer planned

The shuttered Ramada Inn, 7240 Shawnee Mission Parkway, and the nearby closed Knight’s Inn in Overland Park will be torn down.
The shuttered Ramada Inn, 7240 Shawnee Mission Parkway, and the nearby closed Knight’s Inn in Overland Park will be torn down. File photo

Plans to replace two crime-ridden motels in Overland Park with a new mixed-use development, including a high-quality hotel, have been revamped.

Turns out, there will be no room at the inn.

“There’s no hotel in this plan,” attorney Korb Maxwell told the Overland Park Planning Commission on Monday, as the panel considered a revised plan for 7240 Shawnee Mission Parkway, northwest of Metcalf Avenue. It’s the site of the closed Ramada and Knights Inn properties that were marred for years by criminal activity, code violations and blight.

The Planning Commission agreed to move the revised Metcalf Crossing plan forward. The group also endorsed a final development plan for an indoor multi-sport complex at Bluhawk in south Overland Park. And it agreed to the withdrawal of controversial plans for the Brookridge golf course redevelopment at 103rd and Antioch. Those plans are likely to be resubmitted early next year.

Regarding the Metcalf Crossing project, the Overland Park City Council earlier this year approved a rezoning to allow a self-storage facility, three restaurant/retail buildings and a four-story, 90-room hotel. The Council wasn’t thrilled about the storage units near a residential neighborhood but said it was worth it to remove the blight. Council members were encouraged that a better quality hotel was coming.

Maxwell told the Planning Commission there had been early indications of interest from hotel chains and franchisees.

“But after substantial work by Wes Grammer, the developer of the site, in working every one of the significant hotel chains and many different franchisees, we could not come to a hotel deal,” Maxwell said. “So we needed to stop kidding ourselves and move on from that.”

He said the hotel would instead be an office building, although no tenants have been identified.

Only one person spoke at the commission’s public hearing. Jim Eggleston of Leawood, who owns two investment residential properties immediately north of the proposed storage facility, asked that the city ensure it will be well buffered from his properties, with evergreens to provide year-round screening. Maxwell said landscaped screening is part of the plan.

Planning Commission members Ned Reitzes and Holly Streeter-Schaefer worried that the revised plan will bring more traffic to the area, especially near the corner of Shawnee Mission Parkway and Marty Lane.

“I think it could get very congested, particularly during a.m. and p.m. rush hour,” Reitzes said.

A traffic study showed slightly more afternoon cars than the approved plan, but Maxwell said it is not expected to have a severe impact. City staff supported the revision, and the Planning Commission voted for it. The City Council is expected to vote Dec. 3.

If the Council approves the revamped plan, the old motels should be demolished next spring. The project’s first phase will be the self-storage facility, which Maxwell has said is needed to make the overall project financing work.

In other action, the Planning Commission also supported a final development plan to allow a new arena and indoor sports venue at Bluhawk, in the vicinity of the southeast corner of 162nd Street and Lowell Avenue.

The developer, Price Brothers, plans a 3,500-seat arena on the east side of the building and a 300,000-square-foot sports facility including curling, hockey, basketball and other sports on the west side of the building. It’s intended to be home to regional sports competitions as well as recreational sports teams and tournaments.

The City Council will consider STAR bonds for the project Dec. 17.