Vacant for years, Mission Valley site set to see new function as senior living project breaks ground

Tutera Group president Joe Tutera turned the first shovel of dirt at the Mission Chateau groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday morning.
Tutera Group president Joe Tutera turned the first shovel of dirt at the Mission Chateau groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday morning.

The road to get to Wednesday’s Mission Chateau groundbreaking ceremony was long, hard, and pockmarked with conflict. But in the end, said Prairie Village city leaders and representatives of the Tutera Group, the city and the company wound up with a project that they believe will be an asset to northeast Johnson County for decades to come.

“To say that this project has had its challenges would be an understatement,” Prairie Village Mayor Laura Wassmer told a crowd of around 100 who braved the morning’s heat. “The combination of losing a beloved middle school, close proximity to neighbors and a change in land use set the stage for a perfect redevelopment storm.”

But, Wassmer said, after getting over a rough start marked by contentious planning commission and city council meetings, and protracted legal maneuvering by the Tutera Group and a group of neighboring property owners, she was happy to mark the beginning of “a beautiful new community for seniors, and another great amenity for Prairie Village residents.”

Flanked by Tutera Group senior staff, city officials and members of the design team, Tutera President Joe Tutera turned over the first shovel of dirt as the company prepares to start construction of the new senior living community facility, which was approved by the city last summer after Tutera and the Mission Valley Neighbors Association reached a compromise agreement.

In remarks before the ceremony, Tutera told the audience the wait was worth it.

“This is the day we’ve been waiting for for a long time,” he said.

Tutera anticipates residents will be able to start moving in to the 130 independent living and 77 assisted living units in the main structure in the fall of 2017. The lots for the “villas” that will surround the main building to the south will be available for purchase by this fall.

Ryan Fischer of Tutera said there was currently a waiting list of approximately 200 for the independent and assisted living units. The company hopes to have formal leasing agreements ready for new residents to sign within the next few months.

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Prairie Village Mayor Laura Wassmer said the project was a result of hard work and compromise by a number of parties.