OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Without discussion, Overland Park City Council voted unanimously Monday night on final approval for a new development at 95th and Metcalf. The plan calls for a Lowe’s and 14 other buildings, which would include smaller retail shops and restaurants.
The vote quietly signaled the official end of an era for Overland Park’s Metcalf South shopping mall, which closed in 2014.
“That’s where the comic book store was and where the comedy store was,” W. David Keith said peering through the mall's windows.
“I did all my back to school shopping here, went to my first comic book store here, my parents had one of their first dates here,” Keith said.
Keith directed Metcalf South Movies, an ode to his beloved mall which was shown in 2015 at Glenwood Arts Theater as it too closed its doors.
“When I was a little kid you’d throw pennies in there from the top-level, there’s a lot of warm memories, people lived here, they’d work here and shop here.”
One such person was Don Scheuchl.
“I took a last lap just to take a look, every turn was a memory.”
Scheuchl said as a child he went to the mall from the time it opened in 1967 with stores like the Jones Store and Safeway.
He became a self-professed “mall rat” when he started working at a tobacco store inside in the 1980's.
“It’s something people aren’t going to really understand after it’s gone. It was a special place, it was our home, it was where we grew up, it was where everything happened, it was where our social life was, it was where our work was, it was the place to be,” he said.
Some blame competition from Oak Park Mall, others the online shopping boom, but just months after Lane 4 purchased the site, it announced it would tear it planned to tear it down to create a more modern feel of smaller shops and restaurants.
With Monday's site plan approval, Lane 4 plans a groundbreaking in Spring, but first that means a demolition.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do when I drive by and Metcalf South is not here, it’s just always been here. I’m going to be pretty sad when I see the wrecking ball hit it, it’s going to be a sad day,” Keith said.
One piece of the mall that will survive is Sears, which owns it's building. Lowe's is expected to be the first of the stores to open, likely in 2018.