Edison District plan for downtown OP moves forward on unanimous vote from planning commission

The Edison District received Planning Commission approval Monday.

The Overland Park Planning Commission on Monday gave its stamp of approval to an updated version of the Edison District mixed-use project proposed for downtown Overland Park, sending the plan to the city council for final approval in the coming weeks.

Attorney John Petersen explained some of the changes the developer had made to the project to address the concerns of staff and residents.

The unanimous vote came after the council had remanded the plan back to the commission for review following a series of changes intended to address concerns raised by are homeowners about the project’s aesthetics and impact on the surrounding neighborhood.

Unlike when previous versions of the project came before the planning commission and city council with a public hearing, no members of the public spoke out against the project at Monday’s meeting.

Among the new details attorney John Petersen, who is representing project lead Tim Barton, revealed during discussion of the development plan Monday are:

  • The two-story “food hall” that had been part of the original plan has been replaced by a single floor food hall concept that will be part of the multi-story office and retail building. Instead of demolishing the building that most recently housed The Complete Traveler to make way for the two-story food hall, the developers will keep that building intact, renovate it to make it match the facades of the new buildings, and prepare it for leasing to one or two restaurants.
  • By keeping the former Complete Traveler building standing, there will be additional space for a larger outdoor gathering area, which will now include a shelter roof and terraced seating. Petersen indicated that while the permanent television screen that had been part of the original concept was gone, they may put out temporary screens for viewing sports or movies that would be viewable from the terraced seating area.
  • The parking structure will include a fourth level that expands the total new parking spaces associated with the project to 396. Petersen said 24 spaces on the first level of the parking structure would be reserved for public use at all times. The rest of the parking structure would be available for public use during non-office hours, including Farmers Market weekends.
  • A surface level parking lot along Overland Park Drive would double as an event space that could be used for events like the Fall Festival or an art fair.

Here’s an overhead view of the site plan as approved Monday:

And here’s a look at the project site as seen from 80th Street today:

And how it would look from the same viewpoint if redeveloped as proposed:

Planning Commission Mike Flanagan asked Petersen about the future of the historic Overland Park Presbyterian Church structure. Petersen said that the development group was still considering options for use of the building in coming years, but that the plan was to keep the building itself intact.

“The plan today is to leave the facade and iconic presence as it is,” Petersen said. “The programming inside is still being looked at.”

He suggested that the interior of the church could be converted into “boutique office” space or a gallery of some kind.

Public finance incentives package for the project

Also at Monday’s planning commission meeting, staff gave the commission an update on their feasibility study for the project, including the developer’s requested public finance incentives.

The city council approved the creation of a tax increment financing district for the project in January.

City staff’s feasibility review suggests that the developer is looking for approximately $10.5 million in tax increment financing incentives on a total project cost of $53.8 million. The TIF money would be applied to the construction of the structured parking facility.

As currently requested, 100 percent of new property tax revenues generated by the project would go toward reimbursement of the project costs. The city would not see any new revenue from new property taxes from the project until the costs had been reimbursed.