MISSION, Kan. - The 26 acre lot at Roe Avenue and Shawnee Mission Parkway has sat empty since 2006, when the old Mission Center was demolished. Developers are hoping to close that chapter as soon as spring 2012.
A new development coined ‘Mission Gateway Project' will include 300 apartments, a hotel, aquarium, fitness center, movie theater, office space, retail stores and a Walmart.
Gateway Developers confirmed Tuesday afternoon that Walmart has signed a letter of intent to build a store as part of the project.
Tom Valenti of the East Coast-based Gateway Developers said this is what was needed to move $200 million project forward.
Business owners and neighbors who have waited years for plans to be finalized tell NBC Action News they'll believe the development plans when they see construction.
Roeland Park resident Scott Weaver said, "I'll believe it when I see JE Dunn or whoever is going to do the construction pull up and start moving."
Weaver's heard a number of plans for the corner of Roe and Shawnee Mission Parkway over the last five years. While he's excited that this plan seems to be more concrete, he worries Roeland Park might lose out.
Roeland Park's Walmart is just a mile from where the new store is slated for construction. The close proximity is what Weaver worries will close down the Walmart in Roeland Park, which will then mean less sales tax revenue for his town.
He said, "If they go to Mission, I look for there to be higher taxes in Roeland Park and that I don't like at all."
A business owner right across the street from the development site couldn't be more excited. Rex B. Hoy says his State Farm Insurance agency saw a dip in business when Mission Center closed down.
Tuesday's news brought a smile to Hoy's face, "I think it'll make it fantastic. I hope it gets there. It's been shot down so many times that I can't believe it."
Hoy's excitement was shared by Mission city officials. City administrator Mike Scanlon believes this $200 million development will encourage other economic growth in the area.
Scanlon explained, "That development will actually alter everything around it. Whether its on the west side of Roeland Drive, or the south side of Shawnee Mission Parkway, or the north side of Shawnee Mission Drive or the north side of Johnson Drive."
Mission Mayor Laura McConwell said in a letter to Mission residents dated Nov. 14, 2011 that she "truly believe[s] this development will serve as a major drawn and an economic benefit, not only for all of Mission and Northeast Johnson County, but also for areas well outside of our Kansas City metro."
Mission is planning a 3 p.m. press conference for Wednesday at the community center for residents with questions about the Mission Gateway Project.