By Andy Graham
Preliminary plans for the Mission Trails development project were presented to the Mission Planning Commission on Monday night, with a focus on components that might deviate from city code. Steve Coon, principal for EPC Real Estate Group — a development company with properties in the Kansas City area, as well as Texas and Arizona — was on hand to respond to public comments about the plan and its zoning deviations.
The preliminary site plan, submitted by EPC, proposes demolition of the existing 46,000-square-foot building at 6201 Johnson Drive, just west of The Bar, followed immediately by construction of a single 215,000-square-foot, five-story, wood frame building with approximately 200 residential units. The project would also include a parking garage with approximately 287 spaces ⎯ 52 stalls for public use, and 235 residential stalls. The plan also calls for an additional 325 surface parking spaces. The building will be mixed-use and include approximately 7,5000 square feet of retail/restaurants along with a 2,500-square-foot courtyard facing on Johnson Drive.
Mission requirements for properties in its Downtown Zone 1, which includes the Mission Trails location, limit building height to three stories. EPC is requesting an exemption from the code by adding two additional floors, as well as lowering the threshold of retail facing Johnson Drive. Currently, a leasing office would occupy one of those spaces, which is not consistent with the type of retail business recommended by city code.
The commission approved the requested deviations by a vote of 6-2, with James A. Brown and Scott Babcock voting against the changes. Stuart Braden was not in attendance.
Brown said he doesn’t think the project was right for the location, and said the proposed office space was a sticking point.
“I don’t think they should have offices along Johnson Drive,” he said. “It should all be retail.”
During the public comment period, residents expressed concerns about building height and increased traffic, as well as a request that the project should match the architectural style of nearby developments. Coon responded by presenting a series of renderings demonstrating how the Mission Trails project will complement the local character to maintain the district’s architectural integrity.
Mission Trails is anticipated to be very similar in quality and character to many of EPC’s other local projects, including Highlands Lodge in Overland Park, Mission 106 in Leawood, and The Domain in Lenexa.
Coon said that ideally construction would begin in early 2018, with an opening in the first quarter of 2020. The preliminary plan will now go before Mission City Council in June.
The city council will hold a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday to set a time and a date for a public hearing on the tax increment financing redevelopment project plan for Mission Trails.