Thursday, April 15, 2010

Building a New Plan for Bannister

By Andrea Wood

With Bannister Mall fully demolished--and hopes for a Wizards soccer stadium gone as well--Lane4 President Owen Buckley says his development team is working on a new Master Plan for ‘The Trails’ which they will re-submit to the city for TIF purposes by the end of the summer.
“The plan still has three legs to the stool,” Buckley explained. “The retail and corporate office ‘legs’ still remain.”

The third leg, which had been the professional soccer stadium, is now undefined, and may remain so for awhile. Buckley said his team is considering another destination attraction, or even residential, to fill the gap.

“It’s a huge piece when you take out something from a plan that was going to utilize 100 acres out of 467 at the site,” he said. “We’re looking at all the options and remaining flexible as we move forward.”

While Lane4 works on a new plan, Kansas City had hopes that the project would be eligible to receive $5 million in Recovery Zone Bonds. The money was hoped to be used on the demolition of empty buildings and the acquisition of additional property at the Bannister site. However, lawyers determined that the bonds could not be used for demolition or acquisition.

“It was awarded to us, but we can’t use it right now,” Buckley said. “So the money will just have to go back into the cycle.”

Currently, Lane4 owns the former mall site, Hypermart, and Benjamin Ranch. They do not own the strip-malls where Toys ‘R’ Us once stood, or the strip-mall with Burlington Coat Factory.

Last year, residents complained that trash and weeds in the area were violating city codes. Buckley reports that $20,000 has been spent getting trash picked up, and that Lane4 is working with the 3-Trails Community Improvement District to ensure that the site is clean and secure.

As they work on a new Master Plan, Lane4 is requesting that local stakeholders--parents, educators, residents, businesses and religious groups--sign up to be potential participants in future focus groups. For more information, contact Britt Crum-Cano with LANE4 at (816) 960-1444.   

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