Development

Northland cheers new developer, financing deal for vacant Kmart site

A financing plan has been approved to help Lockard Integrated Real Estate Solutions redevelop a vacant retail site at N.E. Vivion Road and N.E. Chouteau Drive as the Vivion Point center.
A financing plan has been approved to help Lockard Integrated Real Estate Solutions redevelop a vacant retail site at N.E. Vivion Road and N.E. Chouteau Drive as the Vivion Point center. Special to the Star

The Kansas City Council has approved a financing plan connected to redevelopment of a Northland retail site that has caused severe storm runoff and erosion problems in adjacent neighborhoods.

The proposal by Lockard Integrated Real Estate Solutions is expected to pump new life into the vacant 17.65-acre property at N.E. Vivion Road and N.E. Chouteau Drive and help cure flooding problems.

Northland residents, including well-known civic leaders Anita Gorman and Deb Hermann, were among those who urged a council committee to approve rezoning and tax increment financing ordinances to allow development work to proceed.

“You have a winner here,” Gorman said in public testimony. “It would be hard to overstate the importance of this project.”

Lockard intends to turn a former Kmart store, vacant since 2014, into a Hobby Lobby and make other retail store improvements under the retail center name of Vivion Point. The total project is valued at about $45 million. Lockard is expected to close on the property in late July.

The Cedar Falls, Iowa-based company is the second developer to attempt rehabilitation of the property, where the city of Kansas City already has spent about $500,000 in unsuccessful efforts to stop damaging runoff from the mostly paved acreage. The developer faces an estimated $1.7 million in stormwater improvements.

Gasperi Group Commercial Real Estate in 2015 sought to redevelop the site but couldn’t come to terms with the former owner. Lockard also had to pay more that it wanted to acquire the property, which elevated its total costs and project risk.

According to information presented to the council’s Planning, Zoning and Economic Development Committee, the project will use $21.9 million in developer funding, $3.8 million in Community Improvement District sales tax revenues, and $19.5 million in TIF reimburseable project costs.

According to Jared Frost, managing principal with Point Commercial, who is working with Lockard on the project, the new development team is “a couple days away from announcing a 30,000-square-foot tenant that will be taking the west end of the project.”

Frost said the property previously had been under contract with Menards, but that company dropped the contract in early 2016.

Diane Stafford: 816-234-4359, @kcstarstafford

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