Overland Park & Leawood

Lane4 suggests mixed-use plan for former Metcalf South in Overland Park

Metcalf South was a mainstay at the corner of 95th Street and Metcalf Avenue for years before its decline.
Metcalf South was a mainstay at the corner of 95th Street and Metcalf Avenue for years before its decline. FILE PHOTO

The former Metcalf South Mall and the shuttered shopping center to the north will most likely become a mixed-use destination, featuring retail, dining, office space and multi-family living, the developer told the city council on Monday night.

Owen Buckley, president of Lane4 Property Group, gave the city council unofficial details about his proposed project, which will sit on the former mall site, on the southeast corner of 95th Street and Metcalf Avenue, and also on the former 95 West Shopping Center site, which sits on the northeast corner of the same intersection.

Lane4 is asking the city for tax breaks through Tax Increment Financing, otherwise known as a TIF, but the amount is still unknown. It also intends to request the creation of a community improvement district at a later time.

At its Committee of the Whole meeting, the council unanimously requested that staff work with the developer on a funding agreement to require the developer to pay for the city’s costs of professional services and other expenses associated with the consideration of incentives.

A public hearing on the potential TIF will be scheduled for March.

Buckley said he had hoped to have a plan to present to the council this week, but the holidays interrupted the planning process, requiring his team to take more time on the details.

He intends to present a plan to the council within the next 30 days.

“This is great real estate at a great intersection, so we want to get it right for you,” Buckley told the council. “I know people desperately want this eyesore to get turned around and that’s a great responsibility. We want to make people proud of that area.”

For the redevelopment, Lane4 intends to demolish the mall, the vacant K-Mart, and the strip mall next to K-Mart. In its place will be attractively designed buildings and beautiful landscape, Buckley said.

The Red Lobster and Olive Garden restaurants will be left alone. Sears, which is not part of the project, will also remain as is.

So far, Lane4 does not have any tenants signed up for its new redevelopment, but Buckley hinted at possibilities.

On one side of the development, he said there might be a small box store, such as a grocery store. On the other side, there would be more high-end retailers.

He also didn’t rule out the possibility that the project might include a big box store, such as a Wal-Mart or Best Buy, for example.

There are talks to bring a movie theater as well. Buckley said Glenwood Arts is leaving the site.

Nothing is set in stone, emphasized Buckley.

As for the office space, Buckley said it could include anything from a corporate headquarters to an attractive building shared by smaller businesses.

Buckley also said that the project may feature a meandering path, with landscaping, to be used for casual walks or fitness runs.

Multi-resident units, and perhaps even condominiums, would also be built.

It’s a mixed-use concept that is growing in popularity across the nation, Buckley pointed out.

“People want their everyday life to be convenient,” he told the council. “They want to work and play near where they live.”

His team is also looking into connecting the north and south developments, whether it’s via a safe crosswalk above ground or below.

“I see this area as being Overland Park’s town square,” he said. “It’s a place for people to meet up.”

The road to figuring out a plan has been a long process, Buckley said.

Ever since Lane4, along with the Kroenke Group, bought the property back in February, the redevelopment team has been researching uses for the former retail sites.

They also reached out to the public through neighborhood meetings and an online survey. Several residents said they were frustrated having to drive far away for basic retail, Buckley said, which he found eye-opening.

Using the public’s feedback and listening to nearby residents’ concerns was an important part of the process, he said. It will also be an important part of future steps.

The council was a little frustrated Lane4 didn’t have a list of potential retailers or a detailed plan for review yet, but many of them were excited about the project’s potential.