Price Commercial Realty is finally going public with its plan for a massive new 300-acre mixed-use development in south Kansas City. BluHawk is the name for a 100-million-square-foot new retail power center that will occupy a stretch of land situated between 159th and 167th street, bordered by Highway 69 to the east and Antioch to the west.
It’s the southernmost development in Kansas City, with a population of about 40,000 in a three-mile radius. John Nolan, president of Price Commercial Realty, says the questions he gets most often are whether the area is ripe for development and just how much it’s expected to grow.
It’s an easy answer for Nolan, who presented details of the BluHawk plan to members of KCRAR Commercial on Wednesday. He responds by plotting its location on a map: Not only is it a short 3.5 miles south of Prairiefire and Corbin Park, the hottest retail areas in the market, but it’s surrounded by high quality $500,000 homes, some of the top ranked schools in the country with Blue Valley schools, and in a 3-mile radius, an average household income of about $150,000.
“At different ICSC events, we spoke with groups out of L.A., San Francisco and Washington D.C. and asked whether they saw numbers like that, and everyone’s response was that they’d be happy to have those numbers at any development,” he said. “We view that as an amazing opportunity.”
And there’s plenty of room for growth. Nolan said the City of Overland Park is looking at more than 500 homebuilding permits issued per year for $500,000 homes. BluHawk will help foster that single-family home growth. It’s currently sold all 60 home lots in its first phase of the plan, and the majority of those homes – about 55 – have already been built. Another 60 homes will come in another phase, and it will include a mix of town homes and villas and other options that have yet to be defined.
Because it’s a STAR bond project, Nolan said the developers are taking a new approach to attracting tourists. So, instead of first focusing on retailers, they want to create a sense of intrigue and excitement around the plan’s two main centerpieces: a 6,000-seat hockey arena and an 60,000-square-foot extension of the Hutchinson-based Cosmosphere.
“We got together and what we decided to do with BluHawk is create a reverse interest in the area,” said Scott Buescher, vice president of acquisitions and development for Price Brothers. “We’re not going for retail first; We’re going for programs.”
The Cosmosphere located in Hutchinson is the largest non-government affiliated space entity/museum in the world. Although it’s a truly fascinating facility, attendance is falling. Because of that, Price brought in two former Disney employees, who will pack the facility with programming utilizing the building’s 40X theater, a Legos robotics system called Mindstorm, and other technological and educational components.
For the hockey arena, the team is in negotiations to bring a U.S. Hockey League team to the arena as part of a larger concerted effort to get 20,000 Kansas City kids in the metro to play hockey.
“There’s an underlying interest here,” Nolan said. “The purpose of the hockey team is to create a movement in Kansas City much like soccer did with the Legends facility.”
With the hockey arena and Cosmosphere in place, Nolan said the team is working to bring first-to-market retailers to the area. So far, he’s received commitments from a new-to-market movie theater/bowling alley, and plans to add a number of restaurants.
But the first piece to open in the development will be the portion dubbed BluHawk Marketplace. It will house the newest 60,000-square-foot Cosentino’s concept, a much larger and more technologically advanced than any its similar versions in Brookside and downtown Kansas City. The store is scheduled to open around Thanksgiving this year. An additional 70,000 square feet of retail surrounding the grocery store will also be the first part of the development to open.
So far, other pieces of the plan include a small plot of land that was sold to an area bank, as well as three or four other large parking garages.
Click here to see a full site plan.