Developer David Block said he was as surprised as anyone else when he learned that the Merriam Winstead’s surrounded by the property a group led by his company just purchased at Shawnee Mission Parkway and Antioch Road was closing its doors late last month.
But Block said he intends to work with the owner of the building to see if they can incorporate the former Winstead’s into a cohesive plan for a mixed-use development on the site.
“We were not aware that Winstead’s did not intend to extend their lease [when we bought the surrounding property],” Block said. “But we are working with those owners to see if we can pursue the inclusion of the Winstead’s into the development plan.”
Winstead’s closed in Merriam Jan. 25. The week earlier, health department officials had issued the restaurant a notice of 11 priority violations after conducting an inspection in response to a complaint there.
The Block-led ownership group controls the land and parking lot for the former Kmart on the site as well as the Krispy Kreme doughnut shop fronting Shawnee Mission Parkway. It does not own the former International House of Pancakes property that was recently leased by Pegah’s Family Restaurant, or the Winstead’s building.
Block said Krispy Kreme has an existing lease in place, and the operators intend to keep the location open for quite some time. As such, the mixed-use plans Block and Company are crafting will keep the Krispy Kreme building intact.
Block and Company representatives have been in close contact with Merriam city officials about potential approaches to redevelop the long-vacant Kmart site. Block said he hopes the company is in a position to present a plan to the city by midyear.
“Our intention is to work in tandem with the city, and to be in a position – probably by summertime — to come in with an overall development plan,” Block said.
Menards had been working with the city throughout 2014 on a plan that would have turned the Kmart property into one of its stores, but pulled back from that plan in early 2015.