Latest Mission Gateway vote comes a decade after Mission Mall purchase

The park area would be between the parking garage and the Roeland Drive retail/residential buildings.
The park area would be between the parking garage and the Roeland Drive retail/residential buildings.

The plan for the Mission Gateway property that will go before the city council tonight is just the latest in a long series of proposals that dates back to the purchase of the property and the demolition of the Mission Mall a decade ago.

Cameron Group bought the mall in 2005. Developer Tom Valenti said the mall was 70 percent vacant at the time. In 2006, the planning commission approved a redevelopment plan and rezoned the property for mixed use development. Since then, revised plans were presented to the city in 2007, 2008 and 2012 before the current plan was submitted. A scaled-down plan first floated in 2014 never made it to the council.

Here are a few key points that have emerged in discussions surrounding the most recent proposal:

  • A FEMA flood plain map put 11 acres of the Gateway in the flood plain. Demolition of the mall was necessary to make the storm water changes that took the property out of the flood plain so it could be redeveloped.
  • The flood plain work was done by the city. Cameron is now being billed $600,000 per year to reimburse the cost over the next 20 years.
  • The estimated cost of the project is $153.5 million.
  • The developer will ask for $29 million in Tax Increment Financing and Community Improvement District bonds.
  • The bonds, if approved, would be special obligation, backed by the development, not the city.
  • The TIF would give up property tax increments for 20 years and city sales tax except for the sales tax dedicated to parks and streets and the city’s share of county sales tax.
  • The CID would add a half percent sales tax on purchases at Walmart and one percent at all other retailers.
  • The developer has said none of the TIF or CID money will be used to construct the Walmart.
  • The developer has pledged 24 hour security at the property.
  • The developer has pledged to sweep the parking levels three times each day.
  • The hotel will house a pool and two restaurants. The pool can be used by apartment residents.
  • A fitness center in the residential area can be used by hotel guests.
  • A park area will be located between the retail on Roeland Drive and the three-story parking structure. The developer has promised to program entertainment in the park area, which will be open to the public.
  • The parking structure will be screened with a sculptured, perforated metal screen.
  • The developer estimates 24 to 36 months for completion of the project which will be built in one phase.
  • An office building in the current design along Shawnee Mission Parkway will not be built if tenants for it cannot be found before construction is to start. It does not have signed tenants now.
  • The apartments in the project are described as being similar to Mission Farms and with a lower price point than the Plaza area.

The vote tonight by the council will be on the approval of the preliminary plan which was forwarded from the planning commission at its September meeting. The council was told Monday that the planning commission approval included an exception to the restrictions on discount superstores.

Under other conditions, the Walmart would not be allowed because the city restricts the size of the building footprint. The 155,000 square-foot Walmart far exceeds that restriction. However, the code allows that the planning commission “may grant exception to one or more of these requirements (the discount superstore restrictions) in property specifically zoned ‘MXD’ Planned Use District, where the overall intent of that zoning category has been clearly met.”

The statement of intent for MXD in part says “buildings are intended to be multi-story structures with differing uses organized vertically…”

If the preliminary site plan is approved, a new development agreement will need to be worked out for the project.

The rendering shows the hotel on the right and a fitness center at the end of the residential units.
The rendering shows the hotel on the right and a fitness center at the end of the residential units.