MISSION, Kan. – A $165 million plan which includes a Walmart and upscale apartments was approved by the Mission City Council on Wednesday night, and the decision has both business owners and residents divided.
The lot where the old Mission Mall once sat has now been empty for more than seven years. Residents call it an eyesore and business owners call it a waste, but despite that, the approval of the Gateway Redevelopment Plan to fill that space isn’t making everyone happy.
Empty storefront after empty storefront lines Johnson Drive near Roe Avenue. “For Rent” signs or “Closed for Business” notes hang on nearly every other property. And across the street, a dirt lot that greets passers-by on Shawnee Mission Parkway, Roe Avenue and Johnson Drive – a major gateway to the town of Mission.
“It’s been 7 years. Its about time something happened,” said Mike Maniquis, general manager of Nail Perfection and Spa.
So the decision to build 300,000 square feet of retail space and hundreds of high-end apartments pleases some.
“I think its a good advancement for Mission. It keeps us in check with the other communiities around us,” said Sharon Miller, Mission Merchants Association member and owner of Art Glass Productions. She also says the mixed-use development will help drive traffic to the area.
“New businesses, new customers and new residents. And the residents are very important to the community. They make the community vibrant,” said Miller.
Others say the idea is a dead end for the vision of the city.
“I think they’re gonna swallow up all the businesses besides us,” Maniquis said.
A one-stop shop that Maniquis says only makes the neighborhood noisier.
“Walmart encompasses everything,” said Maniquis. “You get your tires done, you get fed. You get your grociers, your clothes, you get everything there.”
Yet most are at least pleased that the city’s eyesore will be nore more.
“Its just been an eyesore for so long. I could care less what goes across the street,” said Maniquis.
Some of the businesses slated to come in, Sprouts Farmers Market, Aspen Fitness Center and Toby Keith’s I Love this Bar & Grill. Developers hope to begin construction in the spring. The projects is projected to take 18-24 months to complete.