Plans to replace the vacant Kmart near Shawnee Mission Parkway with retail space, restaurants and two apartment buildings were approved by Merriam City Council at their regular meeting Monday.
The council approved several elements for the $130 million development, including the rezoning and project plan and the redevelopment agreement.
Matt Pennington, president of Overland Park-based Drake Development, said the property was a difficult site, but he felt lucky to be able to present their proposal.
“It’s been a long process,” Pennington said.
In February, Drake Development’s plan to build a grocery store on the site fell through. The city said at the time that the grocery plan failed because the city was unable to “strike an appropriate balance” and that the city’s priority was to help businesses thrive, but also to protect the financial interests of Merriam’s ratepayers.
The Merriam Planning Commission approved the updated rezoning and preliminary plan for the mixed-use development on June 1.
The site is located on the south side of Shawnee Mission Parkway between Eby Avenue and Antioch Road. A Freddy’s Frozen Custard, Krispy Kreme and La Petite Academy are already installed there and will not be changed, according to city documents.
The proposed development would include a 3,300 square foot retail building, three 5,600 square foot restaurants, a 2,100 square foot restaurant and two apartment buildings of 158 and 204 units. An outdoor space will be located near two restaurants and apartment buildings, and will have amenities for customers and the public, according to city documents.
The east apartment building will have 117 one-bedroom units and 41 two-bedroom units. The west building will have 151 one-bedroom units and 153 two-bedroom units, according to plans.
The apartment buildings would each have a parking lot under them and a parking structure between them. Both apartment buildings will have amenities such as swimming pools, exercise facilities and dog wash rooms.
Public funding and traffic problems
According to city documents, the development will be financed in part by various public funds. An estimated $4.5 million will be funded through Industrial Sales Tax Revenue Bonds for a sales tax exemption on building supplies.
Up to $400,000 in city development and inspection fees will be waived as the developer will pay all third-party inspection fees, according to the plans. An estimated $7.8 million will come from property tax industrial revenue bonds for apartment buildings and benefit from a 10-year property tax abatement.
The sponsor may also receive up to $25 million in tax increment funding reimbursement for qualifying expenditures.
Councilor David Neal said he was concerned about the amount of public funds allocated to the project and the possibility that it would accrue to residents of Merriam.
“Looking at the amount of funding for this project, I understand the need to some degree,” Neal said. “But I’m also concerned that the particular mix of commercial properties in this project may not necessarily cover all of the possible additional costs the city will incur, meaning residents will have to make up for that at some point. ”
There were also concerns about additional traffic in the area, but a deceleration lane is planned at the main entrance on Shawnee Mission Parkway. Improvements such as an additional turning lane will also be made at the intersection of Eby Avenue and Shawnee Mission Parkway.
The developer also plans to install a bus stop at northbound Eby Avenue and Shawnee Mission Parkway.
The developer plans to demolish the empty Kmart building by the end of this year and prepare the site for construction by the end of 2023, according to plans.
The entire project is expected to be completed by the end of 2026.
This story was originally published July 13, 2022 1:00 p.m.