Joco 913

From dilapidated hotels to mixed use: OP council gives Metcalf Crossing the OK

A rendering of Metcalf Crossing, which could feature a hotel and retail
A rendering of Metcalf Crossing, which could feature a hotel and retail Image provided by iCON Architecture

The Overland Park City Council on Monday voted to approve almost $6 million in incentives for a mixed-use project designed to replace two dilapidated hotels at a key intersection on Shawnee Mission Parkway.

Council members voted unanimously to adopt a redevelopment plan for Metcalf Crossing, proposed on 5 acres at the northwest corner of Shawnee Mission Parkway and Metcalf Avenue.

The plan includes almost $3 million in development reimbursement through tax increment financing, or TIF, and $3 million in funds raised through a 1 percent community improvement district sales tax levied on the site. The TIF would last 20 years while the CID would last 22 years.

The developer, Sky Real Estate LLC, plans a $39 million commercial redevelopment that would include a three-story, 76,000-square-foot storage facility, three restaurant/retail buildings totaling 22,000 square feet, and a four-story, 90-room hotel.

The developer plans to bulldoze the closed Knights Inn Overland Park and nearby Ramada Overland Park. The hotels had reportedly generated numerous criminal and other complaints in recent years, and the City Council last year pulled the property’s special use permit allowing the hotels to operate.

Under the development agreement, the incentives will reimburse the developers for part of the cost of buying the property, demolishing the existing buildings and preparing the site for new construction. The funds are paid as the developers incur costs, meaning that they would reap the full benefits only if they complete the full development.

At past meetings, the developers have said the new hotel would be first-rate branded, flagged property. They also said that construction on the site was expected to begin this fall and take several years.

No one from the public spoke during a pair of public hearings on the incentives.

Council members said that although granting development incentives often is controversial, they felt this project was a good example of using public assistance to benefit the community.

“This one is truly an investment,” said Councilman Dave White. “We’re investing in a corner that’s troubled, and I think we’re going to get a good project out of it.”

Mayor Carl Gerlach noted that some council members have complained about elements of the project, such as building a large self-storage facility close to residential areas. But he said Overland Park needed to take a lesson from cities that let blighted areas fester too long and create even more serious problems.

“This redevelopment is so important,” Gerlach said. “Is it redeveloping into everything we wanted? Maybe not. Maybe so."

But the plan calls for redevelopment that's an improvement on what is sitting on it right now, he added.

In other business, the council voted 9-4 to rezone 4.4 acres near the northeast corner of 145th Street and Metcalf Avenue for a senior independent living apartment building.

The developer, Matt Adam Development Company, proposes a four-story building with 182 units, an underground parking garage with 209 spaces and a surface lot with 45 spaces. City codes require an additional 51 parking spaces, but the developers originally proposed that those would be “deferred” and not constructed on adjacent land and nearby streets until requested by apartment residents.

Several council members opposed to that plan and persuaded the developer to build the additional parking at the same time as the apartment building.

Four members still voted against the proposal, saying the city should reconsider its parking requirements or send the issue back to planning commissioners.

One resident, Lauren Fasbinder, said residents of the Quincy Court neighborhood just east of the project objected to the building’s height and potential additional traffic in the area.

Ryan Tull, with Matt Adam Development, responded that the apartments will be far enough away from the property lines to reduce any height problems and senior living facilities typically generate less traffic than apartments aimed at younger tenants.

Council members also got their first look at the 2019 city budget during a meeting earlier Monday. The proposed $294.6 million spending plan would be 0.8 percent larger than the current year’s budget although the city’s property tax rate is expected to stay level at 13.565 mills. The general fund, which pays for the majority of city operations, would see a larger increase, rising 4 percent to $122.5 million.

The council will now consider the budget at the committee level before meeting again on July 16 to review the final spending plan. It will hold a public hearing on the budget on Aug. 6 and vote to adopt the budget on Aug. 20.