Joco Opinion

Editorial: Housing makes sense at former Metcalf South

As redevelopment of the former Metcalf South Mall and other nearby property takes shape, it makes great sense to find ways to build more multi-family housing units there.

Sure, there’s also a need to build some new retail shops near 95th Street and Metcalf Avenue in Overland Park.

But Johnson County’s core also could benefit from the addition of more residents. The construction of apartments and condominiums could serve the growing number of middle-aged and older residents who have called the county home for a long time and don’t want to leave it.

Last week, developers of the Metcalf South property and the former shopping center across 95th Street to the north talked in terms of placing a mixed-use destination on the two large sites.

That’s meaningless jargon, to a degree, because it means almost anything could go there, and in varying amounts, including retail stores, office buildings, living units and entertainment spots.

What residents really need to see is more detail about what Lane4 Property hopes to accomplish. Eventually, the Overland Park City Council will have to insist on seeing better defined plans, because the developer plans to request millions of dollars in tax breaks to make the project a reality.

Those details could come in the next month or so, before the city would decide whether to endorse taxpayer support for it.

Lane4 Property officials say they realize how crucial the intersection is to pumping life into an older part of Johnson County. One positive way to do that is to emphasize the construction of new residential units to attract more people to live in the area.