Broker is hired to find a new use for abandoned Indian Springs Mall

The future of the vacant Indian Springs Mall, as desolate as it is visible along Interstate 635, is poised to be the responsibility of Lane4 Property Group, a local real estate firm familiar with urban redevelopment.

The Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kan., which bought the mall in 2007, plans to hire Lane4 as its broker for the shopping center. It’s the first time the Unified Government has reached out to the private sector for help on finding a new use for the obsolete mall at I-635 and State Avenue.

The 700,000-square-foot enclosed shopping center opened in 1971 and lost its last anchor department store in 2001.

“Our intent is to get someone in on the site with a good background in urban redevelopment and mixed-use projects,” said Doug Bach, deputy county administrator for economic development. “We think Lane4 brings that together.”

Lane4 is familiar with redevelopment in eastern Wyandotte County.

The firm is finishing 39Rainbow, the $40 million mixed-use project across Rainbow Boulevard from the University of Kansas Medical Center. It also is developing a small retail center anchored by a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market in the Argentine community.

The Unified Government “is hiring us as brokers to assist in promoting the Indian Springs site for future redevelopment,” said Tom O’Leary, a senior vice president at Lane4. “Everything is on the table. We’re acting as their broker to promote the property and work on plans to pitch for users.”

O’Leary said potential uses could include retail, office and multi-family.

The two-year contract with Lane4 has been endorsed by a Unified Government committee and is scheduled to be considered May 15 by the full board. Lane4 is not getting money up front, but it would share in the proceeds of whatever future development it could attract to the property.

Lane4 recently has taken on another obsolete shopping center with a similar vintage, Metcalf South at 95th Street and Metcalf Avenue in Overland Park.

The firm bought the mostly empty Metcalf South mall, which opened in 1967, in February along with the Kroenke Group, a venture owned by multibillionaire Stan Kroenke. Lane4 is now exploring redevelopment ideas for the Overland Park property.

O’Leary said Lane4 believes Indian Springs Mall is in a good location. The fact the 50-acre property is owned by the Unified Government also simplifies potential real estate transactions. The government bought the center for $8.4 million and paid the Kansas City, Kan., School District, which was leasing space there, $4.5 million to move out before its lease was up.

Until recently, the shopping center had been open to mall walkers and was the site of some police operations, but it is now completely empty and shuttered, Bach said.

“We’re hoping for a nice, mixed-use development,” he said.