Gateway project marks one-year anniversary of its groundbreaking ceremony

Developer Tom Valenti was all smiles at the Gateway groundbreaking one year ago today.
Developer Tom Valenti (second from left) was all smiles at the Gateway groundbreaking one year ago today.

It was one year ago today that the Mission Gateway project held its groundbreaking ceremony on the lot at Johnson Drive and Roe Avenue. Since the ceremonial shovel-turning, with a host of public officials in attendance, not much more dirt has been moved on the site.

On groundbreaking day, it was expected that foundation work would be under way by the fall. But just last week, the Mission City Council was told to brace for the probability of a completely new development agreement and a new financial request from the developer. It was January 2013 when the council approved the first agreements that called for approximately $30 million in a public financing package to support the project.

That financing package came on a 5-3 council vote. Two of the councilors who voted against the project are no longer on the council, but some doubt was raised last week about the viability of a new package if demands a higher contribution from the city.

The tentative schedule that went with the development agreement approved in 2013 called for work on the project to start June 1 (2013), for foundation work to begin in October (2013) and for the project to be completed by the end of 2015.

In a June appearance before the council, New York developer Tom Valenti, who acquired the property in 2005, took responsibility for all the false starts, but said the project was still a go. In January, it was predicted the Gateway would be started in March and last December a revised plan merged two of the original buildings along the Shawnee Mission Parkway side of the development.

Benefitting from the delays is Roeland Park, which stands to lose up to $700,000 per year in sales tax attributed to a Walmart move from Roeland Park in the Mission project.