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Overland Park City Council approves plan for BluHawk sports arena

BluHawk modifies plan for sports arena in South OP
bluhawk arena.png
Posted at 8:35 AM, Jun 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-21 23:29:00-04

UPDATE, 10: 27 p.m. | The Overland Park City Council approved in a 9-3 vote Monday night the BluHawk project for a sports arena in southern Overland Park.

The proposal passed with a friendly amendment.

ORIGINAL | Developers of the BluHawk project in southern Overland Park, Kansas, are seeking approval from the city council to modify plans for a sports arena. City approval will allow the developers to re-apply for STAR bonds to help pay for the project.

The Kansas Department of Commerce approved roughly $77 million in STAR bonds for the original project. Because of these modifications, developers need a second approval. This time, they are asking for $71 million in STAR bonds.

Instead of building the original plans for an arena and a separate multi-sports facility, BluHawk developers now want to build one complex combining the arena and practice facilities.

The city council will review the plans during a public hearing at 7:30 p.m. Monday at city hall, located at 8500 Santa Fe Drive.

The new plan no longer calls for a minor league or semi-pro hockey team to be based at the arena and will seat about 500 more spectators in the arena.

The plan eliminates a parking garage and one ice rink. It maintains the same number of basketball and volleyball courts.

It calls for building the complex in two phases and will cost the developer more to build the facility this way, but developers believe the end product will be significantly improved.

BluHawk has now partnered with SFA to operate the facility. The organization told a city committee it is already working on plans to incorporate the facility into the local school curriculum and/or athletic activities.

Time is of the essence for BluHawk.

A new law changing the STAR bond program takes effect July 1. Since the previous plan was approved under the current STAR bond rules, developers want to take the modified plans back to the Department of Commerce under those same rules before they change July 1.

BluHawk is a mixed-use development near 159th Street and Antioch Road. Many retail and residential components of the project are up and running as well as a hospital.

Along with building the sports arena complex, developers plan to add more retail and perhaps lodging and a movie theater to the property.