Leawood OKs work to start on much-discussed apartment project at 86th and State Line

On Monday, the Leawood City Council approved the first phase of work to be done on a mixed-used development near 86th Street and State Line Road, across from Ward Parkway Center. The initial phase of the project includes nearly 200 apartment units, 24 townhomes and thousands of square feet of retail and office space. Image via Leawood city documents.

After a year of planning and discussion, Leawood City Council has officially approved the final plan for the first phase for a much-discussed mixed-use development at 86th Street and State Line Road.

During their Monday meeting, the council unanimously approved the project that will take the place of a current parking lot, which sits across the street from the Ward Parkway Center in Kansas City, Mo.

The proposed project will sit on more than 12 acres of land southwest of 86th and State Line, and the first phase will include:

  • 182 apartment units in the central building
  • 24 townhomes
  • 5,790 square feet of office space
  • 9,633 square feet of retail space
  • Main entrance to State Line Road

The two dozen townhomes are aimed at buffering the large central building from the existing single family homes to the north

Neighbors’ concerns

When the preliminary plan for the project was first brought to council in late June, the $50 million development received some backlash from neighbors who, among other concerns, feared a loss of green space.

The loss of green space was still a concern voiced at the council meeting Monday night. Three residents who live near the proposed project site spoke out against the development once again.

Many the existing trees along the edge of the property are being removed as they are not a preferred species for the development and need to be gone in order to make way for the townhomes, developer Doug Weltner, CEO of Weltner Equities, said.

That bothered the residents.

“We are begging you to leave the green space and keep the trees and more,” neighboring resident Lisa Battani said.

Battani said the surrounding neighborhoods are not necessarily against the development but want it to be something they can live with for years to come.

Weltner said the plan is to plant around 50 trees along the edge of the property and allow the area to keep a “woodsy feel” in order to appease neighbors concerns about the lack of green space.

Council’s decision

After a little over an hour of discussion, in which council and the developers went back and forth on small details for the project, the final plan passed unanimously.

The project also received a recommendation for approval from the Leawood Homeowners Association, which submitted a letter to the city saying the organization did not have an issue with the plans.

“I too want to say thank you for working with the residents,” Mayor Peggy Dunn told Weltner. “Coming to a letter this evening that has no objections for final plan approval is quite an accomplishment.”

Councilmember Julia Cain said it was paramount that the developers have had open communication with the neighbors in order for the project to succeed.

Weltner said the plan is to bring ground on the project in early spring of next year.