LEAWOOD, Kan. — The Leawood City Council gave the green light Monday to petition for a community improvement district to renovate the north section of the Ranchmart shopping center at 95th Street and Mission Road.
Many business owners say they have put a lot of work into their stores in anticipation for renovations that have been slow to come.
“We moved here in 2006 under the impression it was going to happen in 2007, so we've been waiting anxiously for quite a while,” said Jeff Stottle, owner of Foo’s Fabulous Cafe on the north side of the center.
With the project finally moving forward, Stottle said it will bring more faces into his store.
“There will be a facade you can actually put signage on rather than this little track sign that can't readily be seen from the road, that's going to be huge. There will be amenities like a sidewalk that will allow for pedestrian traffic, that’ll help as well,” Stottle said.
The shopping center has remained relatively unchanged since the 1960s.
The north side improvements will involve around $14 million in city help to be paid with a 1 percent sales tax increase. The property owners, headed by Bob Regnier, would contribute $14 million. City Administrator Scott Lambers said the owner would incur $20 million in interest costs.
Under the proposed renovations, new restaurants and retail will give the center a more modern feel. Lambers said Leawood is expanding.
“More into the restaurant market than anything else. We are one of the top cities in the metro in terms of the number of restaurants, the high-quality restaurants, and we've really become a destination for that,” Lambers said.
Lambers said Ranchmart's owners could have funded the project on their own, but the city sees this as a project that will continue to pay off in the long run. If city leaders don't approve the CID now, rehab costs may go up, Lambers said.
The south side of Ranchmart was renovated around 10 years ago and has done well attracting new stores and restaurants, said Brian Mossman with the Glenwood Arts Theater. Glennwood sits in the middle of Ranchmart South.
“This particular area, I think you have a lot of loyal customers. People who have lived here for generations and they're very loyal so they keep coming back to the same mom-and-pop type businesses,” Mossman said.
To see plans and renderings for Ranchmart North, click here.