Developer floats idea of mixed-use project with apartments for seniors at Johnson Dr. intersection in Roeland Park

The lot at Johnson Drive and Roe in Roeland Park has been vacant for years, save for public art installations.

An as-of-yet unnamed developer has expressed interest in bringing a mixed-use project to the vacant lot at Roe and Johnson Drive in Roeland Park — but details are scant at this point.

City officials told the council about the outlines of the proposal at the governing body’s Monday meeting. According to that presentation, the developer is looking at bringing an apartment complex that would have 66 units catering to the 55-plus age group and also include around 4,200 square feet of retail space and potentially a restaurant.

Roeland Park had retained a commercial real estate company to seek out potential developers for the parcel of land, which sits east across Roe from the new St. Luke’s Community Hospital and Commerce Bank development and northeast of the Mission Gateway site.

Colliers International had proposed a three-story mixed-use project with office space for the site last year, but backed away from it after a profitability study suggested the idea would not be a financial success.

The new developer has not made a formal offer on the site but did submit a term sheet requesting a full tax incentives package, including sales and property tax revenue streams for 20 years as well as several tax exemptions. The term sheet is not public record at this time.

Ad-Hoc Development Committee member Jim Kelly said the committee was not supportive of the tax package as requested. Kelly also posed the question of whether this type of development was the right fit for the city’s southern entrance.

Councilmembers Becky Fast, Erin Thompson and Michael Poppa said they were interested in hearing more about the potential project. Thompson said she would be in favor of a mixed-use concept at the location and said she thought this particular project “could be appropriate.”

Poppa said he agreed with Thompson but that he wanted to hear more details.
At the council’s request, city administrator Keith Moody will present an overview of the potential development at an upcoming workshop.