City hopes upgrades in downtown Lee’s Summit will help businesses, attract more visitors

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LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. — The downtown area has seen rebirth over the years. Now, another round of upgrades is coming, designed to attract guests from across the metro.

The city released pictures of what’s to come and how you may be a key piece to make it happen.

Vacant land across from City Hall near Green St. and 3rd St. will soon be a popular hangout spot.

“We would put in retail and then the farmer’s market,” Mayor Bill Baird said.

Baird and the city council recently voted to approve plans create a downtown festival space. Here’s what they’re looking to build:

  • permanent three-season market pavilion
  • conservatory/meeting flex space that could be used separately or in conjunction with the pavilion
  • 30-40 room boutique hotel
  • mixed-use commercial building for possible restaurant or office opportunities
  • outdoor performance area built upon the availability of Green Street and the City Hall Plaza
  • multi-story apartment complex
  • gateway/courtyard to welcome the public to the market pavilion and conservatory

In conjunction with the above amenities, significant public infrastructure improvements regarding street construction, streetscape, stormwater management, and utilities would need to be a part of the investment.

“Just specifically for the farmers market, we can have events, we can have concerts where you can be social because everyone down here is like a family,” Amelie Vallinger, who lives downtown said. “So anything that we can do to continue to add to the community and to add to the downtown area and continue to build that is exciting to me.”

Some people said they love the quaintness of downtown Lee’s Summit and don’t want to lose its charm with a big new development.

Baird said not to worry – it’s a priority to keep the current charisma.

“We have no intention of hurting that charm,” Baird said. “We’re building upon the greatness of downtown.”

So, where’s the money coming from?

In, 2013, Lee’s summit voters approved an almost $3 million general obligation bond for the creation of a downtown festival space, among other things.

Lexy Warner expects the extra foot-traffic to bring in the dough at her downtown store.

“I think it’ll help business for sure,” Warner said.

Warner also lives in downtown and loves the idea of adding restaurants and apartment buildings to bring new life.

“I think it will make it more fun,” Warner, who has a little one on the way, said. “It’s a different kind of neighborhood feel like as opposed to like a subdivision. So I think the more people, it gives it a different kind of neighborhood feel for sure, kind of like a Waldo or Brookside vibe here.”

An open area sitting next to City Hall will become a cafe with patio seating. It could also sit across from what the city hopes to be a new hotel.

The City owns that land now, but wants to sell. They’re looking for a buyer and project developer to take over.

“We have this land, we’re going to sell to the private sector the most expensive parts of the property,” Baird said. “So we have a really good plan in place.”

The process of finding a private development firm interested in the project is expected to take shape over the next several months.

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