Overland Park council reportedly considering purchase of French Market land as possible site for future city hall

The French Market property at 95th Street and Metcalf has been vacant for several years.
The French Market property at 95th Street and Metcalf has been vacant for several years.

The city of Overland Park and LANE4 Property Group have been in talks about the city’s possible acquisition of the vacant French Market property at the northeast corner of 95th Street and Metcalf Avenue as a potential location for a new Overland Park City Hall.

A member of the governing body confirmed to the Shawnee Mission Post via email that the executive session the council held at the end of its meeting Monday night was to discuss the possible acquisition of real estate for a relocated city hall, but declined to comment on which parcel of land was being discussed. However, correspondence from one member of the council sent to other members last week indicates that LANE4 had presented the city with the opportunity to buy the French Market property and had given them a short deadline to consider the offer.

Owen Buckley, LANE4 principal, would not confirm the discussions.

“At this time, we do not have any updates to discuss on the French Market property,” Buckely said. “However, on the southside, Lowe’s is well under construction and we look forward to their opening in 2018. We are marketing the balance of the land with lots of positive activity now that the mall is down and walls on the Lowe’s are up.”

Asked about the discussions, the city’s administration issued the following statement:

As part of the City of Overland Park’s long-range capital planning process, City officials have been discussing a possible new City Hall to be constructed within the next ten to fifteen years.

During this process, various locations have been discussed. However, the City is not actively pursuing acquisition of any specific site.

These discussions have been preliminary and will require further discussion and consideration as part of the City’s ongoing long-range capital planning process.

Overland Park currently owns a 25 acre plot of land west of St. Luke’s South Hospital at 123rd and Foster that houses the W. Jack Sanders Justice Center. The city’s strategic plans have called for the construction of a new city hall facility on that land in the next decade or so. Proponents of that plan argue that the 123rd and Foster location is better located between Overland Park’s northern and southern population centers, making access convenient for more residents.

LANE4 partnered with the Kroenke Group, the real estate development company of billionaire Stan Kroenke, to purchase the French Market and Metcalf South properties in early 2014. In 2015, the companies proposed a sweeping mixed-use development called Central Square that would have extended across both properties. But negotiations with the city on that proposal broke down, and the developers moved forward with a more traditional retail project anchored by a Lowe’s Home Improvement Center on the former Metcalf South property.

The French Market property, which used to house a KMart store, was valued by the Johnson County Appraiser’s office at $8.8 million in 2017.