Excitement filled the air as shovels hit the ground in front of a crowd of nearly 200 spectators early Wednesday morning. The group gathered on the northeast corner of View High Drive and 470 in Lee's Summit to see the official commencement of an exciting and transformative new project in Jackson County.
Lee’s Summit developers Flip Short and Bill Brown kicked off the $400 million Paragon Star development, a project six years in the making that's finally coming to fruition.
Brown, who is president of Spectrum Strategies and Paragon’s coordinator for the highly-anticipated addition, opened the celebration by giving kudos to the City of Lee's Summit staff and its supporters, including Flip Short, who Brown said is "the man behind the vision."
"This project is intended to be the number one complex in the country,” Brown said at the groundbreaking ceremony.
It's become quite the vision. So much, in fact, that others have caught on and are launching their own projects in the area. All in all, the 470 corridor should see roughly $1 billion worth of new development over the next decade.
Paragon Star has already gained local, regional and national attention, serving as a model for other communities on how to skillfully combine private and public investment and unite those stakeholders in a shared vision of an innovative, blended district made up of sports, retail, residential and commercial users.
"Youth athletics, our entertainment options, recreation availability, local art and promoting healthy lifestyles are all the ultimate winners of today’s groundbreaking and our future build out," Brown said.
The $212 million first phase will be anchored by the KC Select Soccer team headquarters and consist of 380 acres of mixed-used amenities, including entertainment, shopping and dining. About $150 million of that funding stems from private equity and debt, while the state of Missouri provided additional funds.
Pieces of the first phase include: ten regulation-sized artificial turf playing fields, a clubhouse, a 120-unit hotel, 100,000 square feet of Class A office space, 220 units of multifamily housing and hiking/biking trails will complete the first phase. The Little Blue Trace and Katy Trails will intersect amidst the new site to form a major trail head connection between the 17-mile stretch from Pleasant Hill to the Truman Sports Complex.
Additional housing, offices, hotels, retail stores, entertainment and convention/conference spaces will complete the $400 million total package in a series of subsequent phases.
The Missouri Department of Economic Development team believes the attraction will draw far beyond the residents of Lee's Summit and the Kansas City limits, but will also serve as a hub for regional and national sporting events and recreation for thousands of other area residents and tourists.
"Tourism is a major industry for the state of Missouri and the development, while unique, fits nicely with other area attractions," Downing said. "The young professionals want to have an exciting place to live in. So this is exactly the thing to bring them in."
The pedestrian-friendly, sustainable design features preservation of natural flora and waterways as well as a tree-planting program, use of alternative energy generation and will participate in a site-wide recycling program.
"The vision has come from many people. It's the team that has made it so special," said Short.
The Paragon Star development team includes Bushyhead Law Firm, BNIM Architects, GBA Architects + Engineers, Land3 Studio Landcape Architecture, and Fogel-Anderson Construction.
In attendance were state and local officials including Lee's Summit Mayor-Pro Tem Rob Binney, Jackson County Executive Frank White Jr., KC Select Soccer president Chris Travalent and Missouri Department of Economic Development director Mike Downing.
“I am confident that this development will be a game-changer, offering varied and multiple benefits to the residents of Lee's Summit, Jackson County and the State of Missouri," Travalent said.
Construction will begin next week and the soccer fields are scheduled to be open for play in Spring 2018.