The Novel Place senior living apartment complex proposed at 95th Street and Metcalf got an initial green light from Overland Park Monday as the city planning commission agreed to rezoning and a revised preliminary plan.
The 134-unit, three-story project also got an endorsement from J.D. Bittel, president of the Johnson Hills neighborhood association northeast of the project.
The project by LANE4 Property Group is part of a development boom in that area that includes the Shamrock Trading Corp. offices on the site of the old French Market, the already-built Lowes Home Improvement store and another apartment and mixed use development just down the street.
The LANE4 plan on the southeast corner was originally all retail, but has since been revised to include the apartments. Attorney Korb Maxwell said the developer believes the senior living will do better than the low-slung retail that was in the original plan. Once built, the apartments will be restricted to tenants 55 and older.
“We do believe there is a very active market for independent senior living,” Maxwell said. “We think it brings the mixed use and the density to this site that many members of the commission and the council have asked us for for a very long time. But we believe it presents it in a low-impact way that is appropriate for the surrounding neighbors.”
The project got a deviation allowing it to be less than the four stories required for that area. There are also plans for landscaping and walkways connecting the apartments to nearby retail.
Bittel told the commission he likes the senior living idea and the proposed height. Developers had asked for the lower height to lessen the impact on the neighborhood. And commissioners were reassured that the developer would be back with a more detailed plan for its landscaping and open space.
The full city council will discuss the rezoning on March 4.