Plat approved, major work set to begin at Village Shops

A diagram showing the sidewalk/trail with variable widths along Mission Lane. The sections in yellow are the narrowest at six feet wide.
Prairie Village residents can expect for major renovations at the Village Shops to rev up very soon.

After lengthy debate Monday, the City Council approved the final plat for the redevelopment of Mission Lane and the replacement building for Waid’s, clearing the way for major construction to begin.

The sticking point with the plat came as the council considered whether to approve the inclusion of an eight foot easement along the east side of Mission Lane — a move the ostensibly would give the city the right to build a wide trail along that section of road at a future date if it so desires.

The final plans presented to the city by developer LANE4 and approved by the Planning Commission call for a sidewalk/trail varying from six to 10 feet along the east side of Mission Lane. But based on earlier direction from the council and the initial discussions that ultimately led to the formation of the Community Improvement District that is largely funding the renovations, Prairie Village city staff recommended the council approve the plat with the eight-foot easement.

LANE4 argued against the easement, saying it could hinder development. Coucilor Laura Wassmer agreed, suggested that the uncertainty caused by the inclusion of the easement may hinder the company’s ability to build the project to its full potential.

“I think what developers are proposing is a more aesthetically pleasing shopping center,” Wassmer said. “I don’t think we should do anything that prevents them from doing this project as well as it can be done.”

Ultimately, councilors Hopkins, Steve Noll, Andrew Wang, Charles Clark, Ted Odell, David Belz and Dale Warman cast the votes approving the plat with the eight foot easement.

LANE4 president Owen Buckley said after the vote that construction would pick up soon. Crews are already burying utility lines along Mission Lane to prepare for the more substantial parts of the project. Buckley said construction on the Waid’s replacement building would likely begin in late summer. To date, Buckley said, no lease has been signed for the Waid’s replacement building, where speculation has been rampant that a Starbucks with a drive thru will be the major tenant.

“No leases have been executed on anything yet, but we’re getting really close,” Buckley said.