After significant changes to Metcalf Crossing plan, developer says eyesore hotels now won’t be demolished until this fall

Developers for Sky Real Estate told Overland Park officials this week that the vacant Ramada Inn and Knights Inn likely won’t be demolished until September.

Neighbors eager to see two shuttered hotels in north Overland Park torn down will have to wait a little longer. Because of changes in the Metcalf Crossing development plan the bulldozers likely won’t roll in until Sept. 30, about four months past their previously scheduled date.

The Ramada Inn and Knights Inn have long been an eyesore that attracted crime and social problems before being closed up at the end of 2017. Council members have been keen to get them removed since Wes Grammer of Sky Real Estate proposed a development there last year.

But the project has been delayed numerous times. After getting reassurances from Grammer that the hotels really will be torn down in September, committee members gave their blessing to the delay.

Metcalf Crossing is a $39 million project on the northwest corner of that intersection. Originally, the demolished hotels were to be replaced by one smaller hotel, a self-storage facility and some retail. Under that plan, demolition would have happened at the end of 2018.

New hotel no longer part of project plan

Since then, there have been several major changes in the development plan. The hotel was removed from the project, and there were adjustments to the size of the other buildings. All of those things had to go back through the planning process for approval, Grammer said.

Demolition was to have started this month, but Grammer sought a further delay because of those issues. Completion, which would have been by Oct. 4, 2020, is now Dec. 31 of that year.

Overland Park City Councilman Dave White.

Committee members expressed concerns about the delay and pressed Grammer on his seriousness about getting it done.

“Unfortunately we’ve been through a couple of development projects where we’ve had similar asks. I’m going to ask you the same exact question I asked them,” said committee chairman David White. “Are you positive September 30 is a good date?”

White and other members referred to past experiences in which deadlines were repeatedly missed. The Market Lofts project in downtown Overland Park is an example, though the members did not name it directly.

“I have told my constituents this is coming and I want to make sure it is coming,” said Councilmember Terry Happer Scheier. “I’m excited to see this den of iniquity go away.”

White also received assurance that there have been no further police or fire issues now that the buildings are boarded up.

The project has public financing package that includes tax increment financing and a special sales tax that would raise $5.9 million altogether. That gives the council power to penalize the developer if the deadlines are not met.

“My opinion is we’re going to hold you to these dates,” White said. “What we don’t want is another Mission Mall.”