Developer’s application for Kmart site in Merriam includes plans for grocery store, restaurant and residences

Former Kmart in Merriam

Overland Park-based Drake Development submitted a $26 million tax increment financing application to the city of Merriam last month for the former Kmart site off Antioch Road and Shawnee Mission Parkway. The application details a 40,000 square foot grocery store and 180,000 square feet of multi-family residential, among other attractions. Above, the boarded-up Kmart site, which has stood vacant for nearly a decade.

Overland Park-based Drake Development recently submitted a tax increment financing application for the former Kmart site in Merriam near Shawnee Mission Parkway and Interstate 35.

The application, obtained by the Post through an open records request, shows that Drake is asking the city for $26 million worth of TIF for the project, which is estimated to cost $118 million overall.

Currently, the site plan features the following, as outlined in the application:

  • 40,000 square feet for a grocery store, something Merriam has lacked since the closing of Hen House at Merriam Town Center in 2019.
  • A 35,000-square-foot retail building with space for multiple tenants.
  • A 6,000-square-foot restaurant and retail building.
  • 180,000 square feet of multi-family residential.
  • A parking garage with approximately 388 spaces.

City Administrator Chris Engel told the Post via email that the city council will meet in executive session during its regular Feb. 14 city council meeting to discuss the progress of conversations between the city, the developer and consultants.

“The city is excited about the interest in the property,” Engel told the Post. “Staff has had several conversations with the developer and our consultants to better understand the most appropriate way the city can assist in making the development successful.”

Kmart site sign
The large building has remained vacant since Kmart closed in January 2013. Above, a photo of the sign that still stands outside of the building.

Matt Pennington, president of Drake Development, told the Post via email that “the city’s got a great vision” for the long-vacant site.

Pennington added that Drake has been working with the city to bring the development to fruition and work through some of the site’s challenges, including asbestos remediation and a dilapidated building.

“Sites like this that are so challenged, it’s the only way it works,” Pennington said. “You’ve got to have a public-private partnership, and that’s what we’re doing.”

Pennington said he plans to submit a preliminary development plan in the next two weeks for the site. Additionally, Pennington said Drake has recruited a new-to-market, full-service grocer for the project.

“It’s a done deal, pending the approvals of the city,” Pennington said.

Engel originally told the city council about the application at the Jan. 24 meeting.

Engel said at that time that had not had the time to go through the application before that meeting, but that he and community development director Bryan Dyer would start to work on it.

“They submitted the $1,000 application check, so we assume that they’re serious about continuing the conversation about the Kmart development,” Engel said at the Jan. 24 city council meeting.

This new TIF application was filed more than a month after Dyer told the Merriam Planning Commission in early December that city staff did not expect any plans to be submitted for the former Kmart site.

The following day, Pennington with Drake told the Post an application would be submitted to the city by the end of January.

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