Wichita-based Genesis Health Clubs says it is pressing pause on plans to move into the site of the redeveloped Macy’s in the Prairie Village Shops, as it waits to see what comes of the city’s relaunched discussion over a new community center nearby.
Why it matters: Prairie Village is once again taking up the conversation about a plan for a new co-located community center and library near the city’s municipal campus, which in the past has been proposed on the current site of the Paul Henson YMCA near 79th Street and Mission Road.
Genesis officials told the city this week they are now waiting to see how developments there could impact plans to move in at the old Macy’s, which is a few blocks north on Mission.
Michael O’Donnell, a public affairs representative for Genesis owner Steven Enterprise, told the city’s ad-hoc civic center committee on Wednesday that Genesis doesn’t want to compete with the city over a new facility that could feature aquatics.
Background: Genesis announced plans to move into the Macy’s redevelopment in early January. OneLife Fitness had originally planned to move into that space, but Genesis acquired OneLife’s Kansas City and St. Louis locations.
But that plan appears to be now on hold, at least for now, as the city restarts its conversation over what to do with the area around the municipal campus after a two-year, pandemic-induced pause.
This could lead to a new community center at what city officials are now referring to as Prairie Village’s “civic center,” an area bounded by 75th and 79th streets on the north and south, and by Delmar Street and Mission Road on the east and west.
That area includes city hall, the municipal campus, Shawnee Mission East High School, Harmon Park and the current YMCA.
What we know: Genesis is committed to moving into Prairie Village, but the civic center conversation may cause the health club to change directions, O’Donnell told the Post.
O’Donnell said most Genesis facilities feature aquatics, and the health club doesn’t want to go “head to head” with a new Prairie Village facility half a mile down the road.
If the city moves forward with a different organization like the YMCA or a city-funded community center featuring aquatics, O’Donnell said, Genesis will not offer aquatics at its Macy’s redevelopment.
If the city is interested in partnering with Genesis on a new community center at the city’s civic center area, he said, Genesis is willing to fulfill that need.
No decisions have been made at this time as the city and the ad-hoc civic center committee is still in early stages of discussion.
Key quote: “If there is a need for Prairie Village and you have a finite amount of tax dollars to spend on things, don’t make aquatics and workout facilities and meeting rooms a priority when we can meet that need and they can focus on things like improvements to city hall, fire, police, public safety expenses and also keeping infrastructure up,” O’Donnell told the Post.