After some deliberation over parking concerns and phasing of the entire development, the Shawnee planning commission on Monday approved plans for the residential portion of Westbrooke Green.
Located on the northeast corner of 75th Street and Quivira Road, the proposed mixed-use development consists of 343 residential units in four- and five- story apartments and a mix of commercial, retail and restaurant components.
MP Westbrooke North LLC, a partnership of Mission Peak Capital and Northpoint Development, is planning to start construction on the apartments first before work begins on the commercial side of the project.
Planning commissioners on Monday generally agreed with plans for the apartments but raised several concerns about the timeline for buildout of the entire site, citing delays since 2017 to get the project going.
“What assurances do we have that the commercial portion will be developed in the future, and when would that happen?” asked Commissioner Bruce Bienhoff.
Mark Pomerenke with Northpoint Development said the recently approved tax increment financing agreement with the city has “pretty steep penalties should the commercial not develop in a timely manner.”
“I would just say Northpoint… is making close to a $60 million investment, so without sharing more than what I’m allowed to share, I would say I have a high degree of confidence that we’ll see some good positive activity,” Pomerenke said. “And I think the steps the city took to allow for a little bit more flexibility and a more feasible plan is going to really help drive activity and get something to happen at this site.”
The $90.2 million project is a scaled-down version considered by the developer to be more feasible for the site. The city in December 2019 approved a revised tax increment financing agreement for the development.
Other commissioners were concerned that the proposed apartments lack adequate parking. Pomerenke said they have completed several studies of parking needs at other projects and have found that their ratio of 1.7 parking spaces per residential unit is sufficient. The developer noted that the majority of studio and one-bedroom units at other apartment projects do not need parking for two vehicles. The site also allows for cross parking between the retail and residential areas.
One Lenexa resident who lives in an apartment at 83rd and Quivira echoed the planning commission’s concerns about parking. He said he and his wife have trouble finding adequate parking at their apartment and also frequently experience traffic congestion when leaving in the morning.
Chairman Dennis Busby suggested the developers make improvements to the private entrance from 75th Street, as that entrance will be the primary gateway to the site.
Pomerenke said the partnership agreement addresses items like pavement improvements. It also allows for funds to be earmarked for traffic signals — that could include making improvements to the traffic signal at 75th and Quivira and/or building new traffic signals at the private entrances to the site.
The Shawnee planning commission voted 9-0 to approve the site plan and final plat for the Westbrooke Green apartments. Pending final approval from the city as well as building permits, construction on the apartments is slated to begin in late summer. Commissioners John Montgomery and Steven Wise were absent.