New housing, school, park, city hall among plans presented in Westwood study

One of the ULI concepts shows new housing on the Entercom property in Westwood and a new school on Rainbow.
One of the ULI concepts shows new housing on the Entercom property (upper left) in Westwood and a new school on Rainbow.

A new school, a new park, a new city hall, acres of new housing and a new commercial development at 47th and Rainbow Blvd. – those are among the options in Westwood’s future.

After a full-day workshop Thursday, a group of experts in finance, real estate, design, land use and market feasibility showed their sketches of how Westwood could secure the future of Westwood View Elementary School, repurpose the church land at 5050 Rainbow, redevelop the Entercom property and address the future of Dennis Park. The group was brought together by the Urban Land Institute.

Westwood View is important to keep home values in the city, said group co-chair Lynn Carlton. “That really is the core driver” for the planning, she said. “How do we make sure the school stays open?”

One of the answers the group presented provides more housing and diversifies the type of housing in the city. One of the two plan outlines it presented would see the eight-acre Entercom property developed with housing. The three adjacent properties across the street from Entercom – the church, park and Westwood View school – would become the site of a new school, parking, park play areas and a larger play field that could be used for sports like soccer.

Another option saw a new Westwood View built on the Entercom property with the play fields, and new housing occupy the combined site along Rainbow where the school, park and church now sit.

Here are some of the components of the housing at Entercom plan:

  • Build 14 new single family homes around the perimeter of the property. The center of the property would hold 50 townhomes. The ULI team said putting all single family homes on the property does not appear to be economically feasible. The site requires greater density to make it a viable housing option. The townhomes, in a plus $200,000 market, would include shared green space and would have garages.
  • Build a new Westwood View that was closer to Rainbow, which would mark it as a signature part of the city and showcase it to the main thoroughfare. Parking would be to the west of the school and play fields, shared by the city and school, also would be behind the school. The large open play field would then be across the street from the new housing at Entercom.
  • A new city hall could be built toward the northeast corner of 50th and Rainbow which would keep the entrance feature of Dennis Park intact.
  • If city hall (built in 1991) is moved to the shared school site, then the three acres it currently occupies at Rainbow and 47th could be redeveloped as commercial property or mixed use with housing on upper floors – similar to the Woodside Village concept that is under construction directly across the street.
  • Another option for a new city hall is to include it in the plans for a mixed use development on its current site.

The other primary concept drawn by the group put the school on the Entercom property. The ULI members reported that School Superintendent Jim Hinson had estimated the remaining lifespan of Westwood View at about 10 years. The district would like about 10 acres for a new school and the Entercom property is eight acres.

Monday: More details on the Westwood ideas from the Urban Land Institute.

This concept shows a new Westwood View built on the Entercom property and housing occupying the combined church, school and park property.
This concept shows a new Westwood View built on the Entercom property and housing occupying the combined church, school and park property.
The property where Westwood City Hall now sits could be redeveloped for commercial or mixed use - with or without a city hall included.
The property where Westwood City Hall now sits could be redeveloped for commercial or mixed use – with or without a city hall included.
The Technical Assistance Panel from ULI presented its findings Thursday. Westwood is the first TAP project - with no charge to the city - of the Kansas City ULI.
The Technical Assistance Panel from ULI presented its findings Thursday. Westwood is the first TAP project – with no charge to the city – of the Kansas City ULI.