Long-vacant former Kmart site in Merriam could soon get new development deal — what we know

Kmart Merriam

The Merriam City Council approved an ordinance amending the city's Interstate 35 tax increment financing district to include the former Kmart site off Shawnee Mission Parkway and Antioch Road, pictured above. This will allow any developer interested in the site to apply for TIF to help offset costs associated with issues like grading. File photo.

There’s movement at the long-vacant former Kmart along Shawnee Mission Parkway in Merriam.

The 13-acre site at 8703 Shawnee Mission Parkway near Interstate 35 has stood unused since January 2013 when Kmart closed. Menards later pulled out of its plans to put in a store there in February 2015.

Block and Co. purchased the abandoned lot in 2017 with the intention of redeveloping it into a mixed-use site, but there’s been no movement at the site since.

Now, Overland Park-based real estate developer Drake Development LLC is likely to submit a tax increment financing, or TIF, application to Merriam in order to redevelop the site, City Administrator Chris Engel confirmed.

On Monday, Merriam approved the following two items related to the potential redevelopment of the old Kmart:

  • A public hearing to discuss and consider expanding the Interstate 35 Redevelopment District to include the  site. Specifically, the amendment would encompass Eby Avenue east to Antioch Road and Shawnee Mission Parkway south to W. 64th Terrace, thereby excluding the Pinegate subdivision.
  • A funding agreement with Drake Development stating the city is able to use $60,000 of the real estate developer’s money to hire legal counsel and consultants. The consultants and legal counsel would help the city determine whether or not TIF is suitable for the site.

Merriam will not be obligated to approve a TIF agreement or redevelopment plan related to the Kmart site in connection with Drake Development by approving the $60,000 funding agreement, Engel said.

“Once again, this [funding agreement] is to protect the taxpayers from having to pay for a project that may or may not come to fruition depending on what these consultants find out,” Engel said.

Councilmember David Neal, who represents Ward 4 where the former Kmart site sits, said he’s happy to see some movement on the lot.

The city council unanimously approved both the public hearing for June 14 and the funding agreement with Drake Development.