Development

This Lenexa project is so popular, developers are expanding before they break ground

A new project in Lenexa City Center hasn’t made it past the planning stages, but demand is already so high the developers proposed a $960,000 expansion.

The development, called The Yard, will be an L-shaped building devoted to offices and restaurants overlooking a large patio — the reason for the project’s name — that will feature a fire pit, pickleball courts and outdoor seating. The plan also includes indoor parking.

The Lenexa City Council unanimously approved the expansion Tuesday night, allowing another 11,600 square feet of office space on an additional floor, and more parking spaces in the garage and on the street.

Tenants are interested in the office space for its visibility, at the southeast corner of 87th Street Parkway and Renner Boulevard, said Scott Anderson, who represented the developers. He said the list of tenants will be released once it’s finalized.

The $15 million project will be an entryway of sorts to the growing Lenexa City Center. The $75 million civic campus — including the new city hall, Lenexa Rec Center and Park University branch — was completed in 2017. The $21 million Johnson County Library opened Sunday. Construction is underway on a $28 million aquatics center through the Shawnee Mission school district.

The city approved the original plan for The Yard in August, and the developer doesn’t anticipate any other changes in order to stay on track for construction, expected to begin around October and finish in spring 2021, Anderson said.

Eric Wade, who recently retired as city administrator, told the council that the project would benefit the city.

“When’s the best time to plant a tree? 20 years ago,” Wade said during the meeting. “When’s the best time to approve a project plan? It would have been 20 years ago. But the next best time is right now to do that. I think getting this entryway into City Center completed is something we can all be proud of.”

The city had approved a tax increment financing district for The Yard, which is expected to generate $5.25 million over 20 years in new taxes.

The developer will keep $2.2 million of that to pay for some project costs. Lenexa will receive about $3 million, according to city officials.

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