Arvest Bank, a banking company out of Bentonville, Arkansas, is planning to build its first location in Shawnee — a significantly smaller prototype than traditional brick-and-mortar banks.
Arvest plans to build a new 857 square foot bank with three ATM drive-thru lanes in the area of 6219-6225 Lucille Lane. Arvest required preliminary site plan approval from the Shawnee planning commission before proceeding with the project.
In its Monday meeting, the planning commission allowed a few deviations on the project, particularly related to the bank’s size, that would configure the site and accommodate diagonal parking and access points.
The proposed bank is more than 9,000 square feet smaller than the 10,000 square foot minimum requirement by city code for developments on prime spots (in this case, the project area is along Shawnee Mission Parkway, an arterial road in the city). However, Arvest representatives and city staff acknowledged that the site, which is less than an acre in size, would be challenging to fit a 10,000 square foot building.
“It’s a small site,” said Doug Allmon, community development director. “They’re trying to make their building and all of their necessary accessory uses fit, and through a lot of discussion, I think we’ve been able to come up with a compromise that will work for us.”
Additionally, Arvest is reducing its footprint for a brick-and-mortar space to accommodate its actual needs for users. Mark Larrabee, president and chief executive officer over the Arvest banks in the Kansas City area, said their customers are mostly banking online but occasionally wish to visit a brick-and-mortar location.
“Banking has changed,” Larrabee said. “Our customers bank with us 24/7 on their phone, at their computer, in their bed, and they just don’t come in the banks as much as they used to… but J.D. Powers’s research will tell you that a customer who banks only online is not nearly as satisfied with their relationship as one who banks online and in a branch.”
J.D. Christie with AREA Real Estate Advisors, the developer on project, said the site was already challenging to develop due to its narrow lot sizes and required setbacks from adjacent properties and rights-of-way.
City staff did not make a recommendation related to allowing the deviation on the size of the bank. Allmon noted that city staff, however, would have recommended approval of the preliminary plans had it not been for the deviation related to the bank’s size.
Arvest is also about to open another branch bank location at 95th and Metcalf in Overland Park.
The Shawnee planning commission voted 7-0 to approve the preliminary site plan. Planning commissioners Bruce Bienhoff, Randy Braley, John Montgomery and Leo Nunnink were absent.