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Going 360: Mission Gateway development project

Posted: 4:07 PM, Jun 01, 2023
Updated: 2023-06-01 19:41:51-04

MISSION, Kan. — The 17-acre Mission Gateway development project remains unfinished 17 years and several iterations later.

The development, which is on the site of the old Mission Mall, is now at risk of foreclosure.

Last month, the city of Mission issued a notice of default to the Gateway developer, which is owned by Aryeh Realty. A press release from the city noted that a 2022 tax payment was due on May 12, 2023. The city said Aryeh had not paid its $447,944 bill.

KSHB 41 is taking the topic 360 so you understand the historical context of the project from some of the many voices involved and impacted.

You'll hear from:

  • Decision makers through the years via the KSHB 41 archives 
  • Neighbor 
  • Nearby business owner 
  • Commercial real estate expert 

Through the archives

Former Mission Mayor Laura McConwell was confident back in 2005.

“Not only looks nice and sustainable, it's something I believe this developer is committed to.”

In 2011, the city's former administrator thought the development would encourage economic growth in the area.

“That development will alter everything around it whether it's on the west side of Roeland Drive or the south side of Shawnee Mission Parkway or the north side of Johnson Drive," the administrator said.

This was five years into the deal when Mission’s leadership and elected officials were accepting interview requests.

In the last few years, the developer and council’s relationship soured.

“I think at this point the council and community have lost faith in the developer,” now-Mayor Sollie Flora said in 2021, when she was a council member.

During a Feb. 2, 2022, committee meeting, the city voted on a pre-development agreement with Aryeh Realty, LLC, the owners of the Mission Gateway property. The agreement gives the city the right to suspend negotiations if the company had foreclosure pending or hadn't paid taxes on time.

“I can assure you all that protecting the city’s interest will continue to be of utmost priority for this council as we move to reconsider the revised project," the city said.

The developers addressed the city that same day during a work session.

“We are committed to this project...We are going to see it to completion. It is going to be a great success. I’m a real estate developer. We’ve been as frustrated as you. I have invested a great deal of my life savings in this project. I would like the chance to get back at least something of it,” Tom Valenti, Mission Gateway's lead developer, said.

Developers have not returned a request for comment.

Councilwoman Debbie Kring sent KSHB 41 a statement:

"Due to potential litigation issues, I am not at liberty to discuss details of the project at this time. However, I would like to state that I am sad and disappointed in the recent actions taken by the developer and subsequent financial partners. The community has been patient over the years and this outcome is truly frustrating."


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Several times a day, Linda Craycraft takes a walk near her house. On each stroll, she's subjected to the sight of the Mission Gateway project.

“We have a stairway to nowhere and a big ugly white building and junk,” she said.

Craycraft has lived near the site for 32 years, which is almost half her life.

She remembers the former mall thriving as it was a spot where her family made memories.

“Christmas time, Easter Bunny, trick-or-treating at the mall,” she said. “But once Dillard's left, small businesses started moving away and it started emptying out."

Since 2006, the project's developer has planned everything from an entertainment center to an aquarium, retail spaces, restaurants and apartments. But all that stands now is a parking garage.

"They need to get on it. I’m not getting younger," Craycraft said.

Nearby business owner

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Kristen Kirk opened Sway Salon in Mission three years ago.

“Sometimes people are like, ‘Oh yeah, you’re right across the street from all this concrete and parking garage,’” Kirk said. “I’m like, 'That’s it. That’s us.'"

Kirk says there hasn’t been any progress in construction since she opened her location.

“Everything stopped during the shutdown," she said. "Then they came back and started working, and it all stopped again. We thought there was going to be this booming lifestyle community thing across the street with retail, apartment, activities and a lot of foot traffic.

"We thought, 'This is going to be good for our business. People are going to see us and come over here.'"

Now, she is unsure if it’s worth the wait.

“It definitely makes us question if we want to stay in this spot,” she said.

At the bare minimum, Kirk hopes for any type of development that is more appealing for her customers to view.

“It just feels really disrespectful to the community to leave it like that,” Kirk said. “Get rid of this mess."

Commercial real estate expert

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Justin Beal has been working with retail properties across the Midwest for several years.

From what he’s seen, developments shouldn’t take as long as Mission Gateway has. But this is not the first time he has seen something like this.

“Some retailers don’t meet their standards,” he said.

Beal says the Mission site checks all the boxes — access, demographics and visibility.

A unique combination, Beal says the site's qualities draw interest from potential tenants. 

“We’ve talked to some of the tenants lined up for that project, and they were all excited about it and frustrated as well that it didn’t end up coming to fruition,” he said.

He says if the property goes through foreclosure, potential buyers may be skeptical of the site's worth, but Beal feels as though the area is still prime real estate.

“You could still achieve a really strong number if it did come back out on the market for sale,” he said. “There’s been a lot of money already spent with infrastructure, and unfortunately, a lot of it will go to waste.”

Previous coverage

Mission Gateway Through the Years

As part of KSHB 41 News' commitment to providing context and depth in our reporting, we're excited to share our latest project, which we're calling 360. This project takes stories and topics that our communities are talking about and explores different perspectives on the issue. You can be a part of the process by e-mailing your ideas and thoughts to us at