By Mallory Ragon
Happy Valley Properties, LLC, presented a planning update on proposed development at View High Drive and Interstate 470 to the city council on Thursday. The group continues to work on plans for a sports complex and mixed use development in the northeast corner of the interchange.
Flip Short and Bill Brown gave the update on the project, which has been a few years in the making since the city requested proposals for development. The city owns approximately 78 acres there and is interested in developing it to promote economic growth at the gateway to Lee’s Summit.
The development proposal outlined by Short and Brown is for a 14-field soccer complex and entertainment "village." The vision is to be ranked the #1 sports complex in the nation.
The plans show 139,000 square feet for retail and services; 33,000 square feet for restaurants; and 42,000 square feet for entertainment venues, in addition to an upscale 100-unit hotel and a 250-unit apartment complex. The group is planning a grocery or convenience store similar to Cosentino’s in downtown Kansas City, offering services like an expanded liquor selection, convenience foods, and deli. They also see a bowling alley and movie theater, and an entertainment district to rival popular metro areas like The Legends, the Power & Light District, Westport, and the Crossroads district.
The soccer fields are designed to rival the top-ranked Overland Park Soccer Complex. It would have 14 fields, featuring synthetic turf, lights, and heating and cooling technology to enable year-round play. The complex would also have an indoor multi-purpose field and championship field accommodating 3,500-5,000 seats. The complex is designed primarily with soccer in mind, but could also be used for lacrosse and rugby play. A clubhouse and sand volleyball courts are also included.
Based on market studies and conversations with local soccer clubs, it is estimated that the complex could host 21 soccer tournaments each year, totaling 120,000 people in attendance on those weekends alone.
Short and Brown also briefly outlined plans for the southeast corner of the interchange, which would have more of a professional focus. The design includes 300,000 square feet of office space, a 200-room full-service hotel, and a conference center.
The entire project has a focus on sustainability and walkability, with mention of possible future tie-in with a metro rail line and with trails.
Council response to the presentation was largely positive.
Mayor Pro Tem Allan Gray quoted the hockey great: "As Wayne Gretzky said, ‘You want to skate to where the puck is going to be.’" He went on to give his reaction as a citizen of Lee’s Summit. "This is exciting. Our city is on the move. Our city is forward thinking."
The presentation comes shortly after continued community requests for repeal of a special use permit granted to Flip Short and The Family Ranch, LLC. The permit will allow The Family Ranch to blast rock at the northwest corner of 470 and Pryor Road, just east of the proposed soccer complex, for quarrying purposes. The Family Ranch intends to extract rock from the area for sale as gravel before preparing the land for development. Residents are concerned about safety and stability of the undermined area.
Short briefly acknowledged the situation, thanking the council for their help in the matter. He noted that he used a team approach for his projects and that he relied on his safety experts to make sure it would be okay.