Edison District will court start-up operations for office, food hall space

Work continues on the office portion of the Edison project. Project leaders say they’re courting start up businesses and restaurants as some of the early tenants for the new space.

The Edison project in downtown Overland Park will invite start-up businesses and restaurants to be among the first tenants in its retail and office space. A city council committee Wednesday got a first look at rental plans that follow a modern trend in which business newcomers rent a small amount of space while they establish themselves and get exposure.

Plans for a food hall concept similar to Parlor in Kansas City, Mo., are already far enough along that the developer asked the committee to start collection of the special sales tax in January. Development lawyer John Petersen called it a “sign of success” to be able to start collecting the tax three months ahead of schedule.

A rendering of the Edison project presented to Overland Park officials last year.

The food hall will be called Strang Hall and will provide space for seven chefs offering various types of cuisine. Two spaces have been announced so far, featuring craft pizza and southeast Asian food, and the hall will also have a bar. It’s expected to open in November.

The 2% add-on community improvement district tax will be collected within the Edison area to raise $3.8 million toward some of the development costs.

The developer also plans to open a shared workspace similar to WeWork already operating in Kansas City. In shared workspace, new business owners can rent only a desk or share a conference room while they work on getting their businesses going. Edison developers hope to sublet 25,000 to 30,000 square feet to those types of short-term tenants.

Food halls and shared workspaces are both considered friendly to new businesses and young entrepreneurs, who don’t have to risk large amounts of money for a full restaurant or phone and computer hookups.

“This is the way of the future,” said David White, who heads the council’s Finance, Administration and Economic Development committee. “This works as an incubator for small business,” that may eventually move on to bigger environs, he said.

The typical renter in the new Edison Spaces will probably use about 700 square feet, Petersen said. Businesses that already exist elsewhere in Overland Park are limited to not more than 10,000 square feet of rental space.

The committee approved both the early sales tax and the sublease arrangements with little discussion.