The landscape of Kansas City is constantly changing in exciting ways; it seems like some new project is popping up every day. Lately, though, it feels like a lot of these new developments are coming on the tails of some tough goodbyes.
Shopping centers like Ward Parkway in Kansas City, Metcalf South in Overland Park and The Great Mall of the Great Plains in Olathe were once brimming with shoppers, family birthday parties and movie-goers; thousands of Kansas Citians have great memories in those places. Ward Parkway was fortunate enough to survive its demise and not experience total destruction before its phoenix-like reemergence, but the other two were not so fortunate. Although both of these monuments to late ‘90s and early 2000s Johnson County social life have been ghosts of their former glory for some time, seeing them demolished still feels like the end of an era. Who wants to imagine a world where no one remembers The Jones Store or Jungle Jim’s?
Thankfully, our city is in a beautiful phase of history; we are attracting so much interest that things which were once good are not destined to exist as hollow shells, but are instead transformed into something even better. (Not everyone is so fortunate; just check out the photos of abandoned shopping malls that Business Insider published.) So what do developers have planned for these sites, and more importantly what do you have to look forward to?
According to The Kansas City Star, there is a $305 million development plan in the works to rebuild at the site of the once-great Great Mall. In addition to a comprehensive sports complex, other proposed amenities include office space, shopping and dining destinations, hotels and residences. These plans are still in the preliminary stages and not much more information is available, but if reality turns out to be anything close to these ideas then south Olathe has exciting things coming. On the other hand, the Metcalf South redevelopment is well underway and new attractions are taking shape. The building that is already standing at the corner of 95th Street and Metcalf will be home to a new Lowe’s Home Improvement store, says the Kansas City Business Journal, which will eventually be accompanied by 14 additional, smaller retail spaces. These spaces will primarily feature retail and restaurant tenants, and the completion of the two buildings that will hold them is scheduled to be done at the same time as the Lowe’s building sometime this summer.