816 Opinion

John Beaudoin | Mixed-use development could spark a housing boom in downtown Lee’s Summit

If you build it, they would indeed come to downtown Lee’s Summit.

After a recent housing study garnered hundreds of responses, let’s hope those in position to make it happen hear this loud and clear — housing and density are in dire need here.

That might mean (gasp!) … incentives, too.

More on that later.

Developers of the highly successful and largely attractive Park Place development in Leawood have shown immense interest in downtown Lee’s Summit. That alone should be the first spark on this potential housing boom.

The mixed-use area is a bounty of residential, retail, dining and office space. The idea worked in the beginning and continues to thrive because it met and continues to meet very specific needs at that area of 117th and Nall.

If you haven’t seen it, and want to see a glimpse of what we can achieve in downtown Lee’s Summit, I would suggest you go check it out.

Standing on the steps of Lee’s Summit City Hall and looking east, just imagine what a mix of residential and retail would look like right here.

What would 200 new residents mean to downtown Lee’s Summit?

This group would likely have above-average incomes, spread the retail and restaurant love around downtown Lee’s Summit, and increase our residency in our core by multitudes.

Those residents likely would not pour a large amount of children into the school district, either, as baby boomers and professional singles would likely be the most attracted to this housing.

Yes, this project at Second and Green streets will be on a much different scale than what is in Leawood.

But the prospect of new residents and a new development should inspire our elected officials to make good on that promise of being “bold” with economic development.

This project may look at tax incentives, help from the Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority or in other ways.

We cannot make that process difficult.

This development is the essence of a game-changer for Lee’s Summit and our historic downtown.

A lot of discussion recently has centered on driving traffic to Lee’s Summit — all areas, not just downtown, of course.

Game changers like this do not come around every day.

And it will be up to our city leaders and council to make sure that, if indeed we have a shot at this project, we see it through with maximum results and fanfare.

Because, let’s be honest: A few hundred more downtown residents would be noticed immediately and welcomed by many.

Reach JOHN BEAUDOIN at jbeaudoin@lsjournal .com