Commerce Bank wants to add businesses at Johnson Drive lot

Commerce Bank bought this vacant three acres at Johnson Drive and Roe Avenue from Roeland Park.
Commerce Bank bought this vacant three acres at Johnson Drive and Roe Avenue from Roeland Park. Photo by Daniel M. Blom

While the Mission Gateway is the development focal point at Johnson Drive and Roe Avenue, the two undeveloped lots across the street in Roeland Park are drawing some attention as well.

Commerce Bank, which bought the three acres on the northwest corner from the city of Roeland Park, said it wants to look for other businesses to share the lot. That would mean changing the layout for the property which has already gone through site approval by the planning commission and council.

The bank purchased the entire three acres, but that is more land than it needs for its new bank building, Brent Hall of Commerce told the Roeland Park City Council Monday. Purchasing the entire lot was the only option given to the bank at the time of the sale, he said.

We are “currently working to see how much square footage we have to sell off,” Hall said. The bank plans to put a sign on the lot advertising for other businesses. It could be a pad site or “like a strip retail center,” the council was told.

“I think I could be behind something that is minimally intrusive,” Councilor Megan England told Hall, “now it’s sort of a game-changer.” Mayor Joel Marquardt and other councilors expressed concern about having an adequate buffer between the development and the residences that adjoin the property.

Both England and Councilor Jennifer Gunby said the city’s original desire was to have more mixed use development on the site. Across the street, the Mission Gateway will be a mixed use development with retail and residential. Any additional businesses on the Roeland Park corner will require Commerce to come back to the plan commission and council for approval. Commerce had been planning to build next spring.

On the northeast corner, Mayor Marquardt said, Roeland Park owns most of the undeveloped lot, but a portion lies in Mission. He said the city is working with Mission on how the entire site could be developed and there has been interest from at least one developer.