The developer of Bluhawk in south Overland Park has filed plans for a redesigned arena/sports complex as a centerpiece for the giant mixed-use project.
The arena and multi-sport complex, planned in the middle of the Bluhawk site, have been redesigned from an earlier concept that envisioned a 6,000-seat semi-professional hockey arena. Neighbors feared the traffic impact and fiercely opposed the idea.
Price Brothers also announced Thursday that it will partner with Sport Stable, an experienced Colorado-based sports venue operator, to run the amateur sports complex.
“It’s an affiliation with Sport Stable, a very successful multisport youth-oriented company,” said Doug Price, president of Price Brothers. “It’s all one big civic entertainment, sporting place.”
Bluhawk has been in the planning stages for years and is envisioned as a 277-acre mixed-use development bounded by 159th Street, 167th Street, Antioch Road and U.S. Highway 69. The southern end is already developed with single family homes on 54 acres plus Shawnee Mission Health Blue Valley.
The new plan calls for a 3,500-seat arena as part of a 120,000-square-foot community center suitable for hockey, graduations and other events. A 300,000-square-foot indoor, multi-sport complex would feature basketball, volleyball and pickleball courts plus a swimming pool and indoor fields for soccer, baseball and other competitions and practices.
“The arena was shrunk in half, to 3,500 seats. It’s a 100 percent amateur complex,” Price said. “We heard the neighbors loud and clear.”
“Price Brothers and Overland Park are going to realize a mutual goal of providing quality entertainment, education, science and athletics in a family-friendly environment,” he said.
Everything developed so far has been privately funded, for about $90 to $100 million.
But the community center and sports complex require a public/private partnership and STAR bonds from the state of Kansas. STAR bonds provide upfront dollars for tourism-related developments and are repaid with local and state sales tax money. They require approval from the Kansas Commerce Department and the city.
The preliminary development plan goes to the Overland Park Planning Commission within a few months and then to the City Council for approval. Price Brothers is also working with the city on a STAR bond request appropriate to the revised plan.
If all goes as planned, Bluhawk hopes to begin construction late this year and open in the fall of 2019. Delays could push the opening to fall 2020.
Another cornerstone of Bluhawk is a proposed Cosmosphere science and innovation center, a satellite facility to the Cosmosphere museum in Hutchinson, Kan.
Price said Thursday the Cosmosphere is now slated for a later phase, in a couple of years. He said the initial projects would help generate the crowds and visitors necessary to make sure the Cosmosphere is a success.