The Roeland Park location that Walmart is vacating could look considerably different after new tenants are found for the site. The new property manager for the center said Monday that several options are under consideration, including reconfiguring the building for visibility to Roe Avenue and potentially dividing the building for two or three tenants.
Audrey Navarro of Kessinger Hunter Commercial Real Estate said redeveloping the site could involve tearing down the building and replacing it, cutting the size of the building down to free more space on the property for freestanding sites or splitting it into two or three sections for retailers. One of the biggest opportunities is in the restaurant category, on a pad site, Navarro said.
Walmart is leaving its current Roeland Park site for the new Gateway development in Mission and taking a sizable portion of sales tax with it. The Walmart lease expires in late 2016, Navarro said. The property manager has not had direct contact with Walmart, but has heard that the retailer is still on schedule to move in early 2015 despite the lack of visible progress on the Mission site, she said.
“We do not have any anchor tenants committed.” A single tenant is not likely to take the building, she said. The architects are looking at ways to split the building, turn the front toward Roe and also are considering costs for scraping the lot and building new. “We are not committed to a final configuration. The anchor tenants are going to drive our decision-making.” The site could be without an operating business for up to a year if it has to be rebuilt, Navarro said, in answer to questions from the city council.
The smaller shops on the north side of the property ideally would tie into the center more and the CVS store would be repositioned to allow for a drive-through, Navarro said. Traffic flow and drainage are issues that need to be addressed, she added.
None of the retailers have concerns other than visibility, she said. The area has a high residential density that retailers like. “Our plan is to find the highest and best use. This has some possibilities for a new anchor tenant,” Navarro said. Better quality retailers pay higher rent, she said.
The area has a “pay-as-you-go” Community Improvement District sales tax that can be used for certain development costs.