Joco 913

Cost to update Leawood’s Ranchmart center: $47 million. Developers ask for incentives

A rendering of the proposed redevelopment of Ranchmart North shopping center in Leawood.
A rendering of the proposed redevelopment of Ranchmart North shopping center in Leawood. Courtesy of Cadence Commercial Real Estate

A plan to redevelop the aging Ranchmart North shopping center in Leawood could cost almost $47 million, with the center’s shoppers paying for a little more than a quarter of that.

The Leawood City Council on Monday heard new details for updating the center at the northeast corner of 95th Street and Mission Road. The center’s owners, the Regnier family, propose adding a number of amenities, including more modern facades, landscaping and a two-story building at the site’s northeast corner that would provide 26,000 square feet of retail and office space.

Council members also considered the center owners’ request for the city to levy an extra 1 percent community improvement district (CID) sales tax in the shopping center to help pay for $13.5 million in certain development expenses.

The tax would remain on the center for up to 22 years and cover such things as improvements to the parking lot, new signs, lighting, irrigation, relocating power lines, updating building exteriors and constructing the two-story building as well as a 6,000-square-foot Meat Mitch Barbecue restaurant in the former Seasonal Concepts space.

An additional $33.5 million in private investment would pay for such things as roof repairs, interior renovations and loan interest.

City Administrator Scott Lambers said that even with added CID sales tax, the total sales tax rate in the shopping center would be less than 10 percent.

Curtis Petersen, an attorney for Polsinelli representing the owners, said the project was not an attempt to use tax dollars to catch up on delayed maintenance, but would create something new. For example, he said the Consentino’s Price Chopper that anchors the shopping center would undergo a “massive” refurbishment as part of the overall project.

“I wouldn’t even call this a renovation, this is a redevelopment,” Petersen told the council. “It rises to that level in terms of the capital expense and how we’re changing the shopping center.”

He said the center’s owners are negotiating with potential new stores and restaurants to fill current vacancies but that there were no plans to force existing tenants to leave.

“There is, if not full, then nearly full support by all the tenants because they know this is transformative for not only the center but for their businesses,” he said.

The 17-acre shopping center, sometimes called “Ranch Mart North,” was built in 1960 and at one time housed a bowling alley, Taco Via and Pumpernicks and played host to an annual country fair. In addition to the Price Chopper, it also includes Duck Donuts, McDonald’s, a bank and a CareNow urgent care center.

During the work session, the council members did not vote on the plan, which still must go before the city’s planning commission next month. But they largely expressed support for the project.

“People seem to be very excited about it, and I think it’s going to really improve that corner,” said Mayor Peggy Dunn. “I think it’s going to be wonderful.”

Council members also expressed support for Petersen’s request to allow the Price Chopper and the Meat Mitch restaurant owners to begin redevelopment work now rather than waiting for the council later this spring to create a CID for the sales tax. Typically, a developer only receives credit for construction started after a CID is formed.

Petersen said none of the interior renovations will be reimbursed with the sales tax. But he said those expenses are part of the calculations used to determine how much reimbursement the developers receive, and they could be shortchanged if that construction isn’t included.

He said the exception to city policy is necessary as Meat Mitch wants to open this summer and Price Chopper, which plans to stay open during construction, wants to get its renovations completed before the holidays.

The remainder of the redevelopment work at the center would begin this summer and be completed by next summer.

David Twiddy: