The Overland Park City Council unanimously supported a plan Monday to demolish and replace two of the city's most run-down, crime-infested motels.
But council members weren’t thrilled that part of the plan involves a large self-storage facility near a residential neighborhood.
“A storage facility is not my first choice,” Councilman Paul Lyons said. But he noted that the site of the closed Ramada and Knights Inn properties northwest of Metcalf Avenue and Shawnee Mission Parkway desperately needs redevelopment, and this is the plan that’s come forward.
“What we’re getting is the elimination of a very big open wound in the northern part of Overland Park,” Councilman Curt Skoog said. “This is our opportunity to take care of that.”
The developer, Sky Real Estate LLC, plans a $39 million commercial redevelopment on the 5-acre site. It 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.
“We are excited to bring forth this redevelopment for this very troubled site in Overland Park,” development attorney Korb Maxwell told the City Council Monday night. He said the developer, Wes Grammer, will deliver a high-quality development worthy of what council members said is a prominent “gateway” intersection to the city.
That intersection has been marred by criminal activity, code violations and blight. The Ramada Overland Park was built in 1967 and the Knights Inn Overland Park in 1972, and city staff said their better days were long past. In recent years, they were the target of more police calls than any other hotels in the city. Late last year the City Council rescinded the special-use permit for the property.
The Council on Monday supported creation of a tax-increment financing district, a rezoning for the mixed-use development and a special-use permit for a new hotel.
No one from the public specifically opposed the proposal. But Overland Park resident Mark Hunter questioned what the public is actually getting for the proposed tax breaks.
“These are pretty mundane businesses,” he said, arguing Overland Park deserves “something special” for that prominent corner.
Maxwell insisted the city will get something special, and more city scrutiny of the actual architectural design is coming.
Maxwell said a well-managed storage facility is needed to make the financing work, and would be built first. Landscaping and the topography would screen that facility from the nearby neighborhood. It is not expected to adversely affect traffic in the area.
The developer is confident that the corner will also draw a first-rate, flagged hotel and other retail, once the two motels are demolished and the site prepared.
While council members approved the tax increment financing district, they still must have a public hearing and vote again on the specific details of tax incentives at a later meeting. The plan calls for about $3 million in TIF reimbursements and $3 million in community improvement district funds, over 20 years.
Maxwell said those funds would reimburse the developer for part of the site acquisition cost, plus demolition and site preparation. If the full development is not completed, the developer would not reap those full tax breaks or benefits.
If the incentives and final development plan are approved, construction could start this fall. But full build-out would likely take several years.