Developer making progress on proposed Whole Foods store near UMKC

After nearly six years of planning and negotiations, and at least 15 community meetings, a Whole Foods Market near the University of Missouri-Kansas City campus has a proposed opening date: late 2017.

The 40,000-square-foot store would anchor a new development at 51st Street between Brookside Boulevard and Oak Street. Developer VanTrust Real Estate LLC also plans 170 apartments on four and five levels above the store, and 10,720 square feet of office space.

The UMKC annex building on the site would be demolished, and the Kansas City Young Matrons Historic Club House would move close by. A metered parking lot also is on the site.

“We’re still pursuing pre-development and we are continuing to work on all the components necessary for the deal,” said David Harrison, president of VanTrust.

VanTrust officials met with area residents Thursday at Visitation Catholic Church. The VanTrust executives emphasized that the firm has made significant investments in the community, including the 51 Main mixed-use project at 5100 Main St., and wants to be part of the area for a long time.

Whole Foods has been one of the consistent components of the project, but details have changed after community input.

For example, VanTrust had planned to take on-street parking away on the south side of 51st when the street was widened. But some area residents balked, so it tweaked those plans. Now only about two spaces will be lost on each side of the street.

Residents also are concerned about the loss of trees along Brookside Boulevard, but VanTrust said about 32 trees would be on the development site when it was completed. They previously said the proposal would preserve the integrity of the Trolley Trail, but did not elaborate.

Another concern was the increase in traffic at the intersections. A turn lane will be added at 51st and Brookside.

VanTrust will start renting apartments in early 2018. The project will include studios and one- and two-bedroom units.

VanTrust is not asking for Tax Increment Financing. It plans to submit a master plan to the city in the next few weeks.

Taproom for new Olathe Whole Foods

When Olathe’s new Whole Foods Market opens on April 22, it will be among a select few Whole Foods Markets in the region to have a tap room.

The Lone Elm Taproom will have a dozen local craft beers on tap, three local wines on tap, patio seating and a full pub menu developed by Whole Foods Market chefs.

The decor will include a reclaimed gym floor from DeKalb High School in DeKalb, Mo., and spring bar stools made from springs found at an oil rig in Kansas.

Some other store features: an in-house smoker for smoking meats, full-service coffee and juice bars, taqueria, sandwich station, pizza station, sushi hand-rolled in-house, and chef’s special with a rotating menu.

Local vendors will include Farm to Market Bread Co., Indigo Wild, Campo Lindo Farms, Shatto Milk Co., Soy-Sen-Zay, BoysGrow and Jan’s Organic World.

The 38,771-square-foot store is in the Olathe Pointe Shopping Center at 14615 W. 119th St.

To reach Joyce Smith, call 816-234-4692 or send email to Follow her on Facebook and Twitter at JoyceKC.