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All options on the table for dormant Mission Gateway project

Developer says COVID-19 making financing a challenge
Cinergy Cinemas and Entertainment
Posted at 5:38 AM, Nov 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-18 06:38:15-05

MISSION, Kan. — So many holiday activities and traditions are either altered or impossible this year, including those that might have been.

One such example: the Mission Gateway project that was set to offer some new things this holiday season.

Months ago, construction on the Mission Gateway project stopped. When it did, the city's hopes for a whole new holiday offering did too.

"The entertainment venue was targeting holiday season of 2020," said Emily Randel, assistant to the city administrator in Mission.

That's what the neighbors thought, too.

Miguel Galindo Cruz, who has lived across the street from the property for more than a decade, told 41 Action News that he and his family were looking forward to new shops and restaurants.

He was asked what would surprise him more: if construction started again soon, or if the entire project was abandoned.

"I'm gonna say the first one," Cruz said. "That they're gonna come and start rebuilding it again."

The city says that everything that was originally announced is still on the table.

Randel told 41 Action News that includes a food hall, movie theater, retail, office space, hotel and apartments. It's just not clear when it's going to happen.

"It would be really just a guess," developer Tom Valenti from Cameron Group LLC told the Mission City Council in October. "I have no idea, I just don't know."

Valenti also told the council that secondary financing for a project that's focused on large gatherings of people is hard to come by.

"Our number one tenant in terms of square footage is Cinergy," Valenti told the council. "Which, as you know, is a combination of a dine-in movie theater, bowling alley, electronic and non-electronic games."

That's what's supposed to go in the large building on the property, which the city says is just a shell at this point. But will those still work post-COVID?

Cinergy, based in Dallas, TX, has already opened its locations in Texas and Oklahoma, with reduced capacity.

"We are in much better shape than most because of our diversified offerings, but we are still struggling without new movies," said Traci Hoey, Cinergy's Vice President of Marketing.

The good news for Mission is that it's not costing the city any money. But it remains an eyesore and one that's not making any money either, as the city hoped at the beginning of 2020.

Valenti told the Mission City Council during his October Zoom meeting that celebrity chef Tom Colicchio is still attached to the food hall project. But it's unclear how the designs for that will have to change after the COVID-19 pandemic, so construction on that building hasn't started yet.