Merriam to consider new plan for former Kmart site

MERRIAM, Kan. — Overland Park-based Drake Development will once again pitch a plan to renovate the former Kmart site in Merriam.

The Kmart, located at 8703 Shawnee Mission Parkway, has sat vacant since the store closed in 2013.

On Wednesday, the Merriam Planning Commission will review a rezoning request and development plan to create new restaurants, retail space and apartments on the property. 

In February, the city council rejected Drake’s proposal to create a $118 million mixed-use project on the property. That proposed development would have provided the city with its first grocery store since Hen House closed three years ago.

Now Drake is back with an updated plan, requesting the city rezone the 14.5-acre property to a Planned Unit Development District (PUD-G) to make way for Merriam Grand Station. 

Plans for the $136 million mixed-use project include four restaurants, two apartment complexes, retail space and a parking garage. 

The existing Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers and Krispy Kreme in the northwest corner of the property will remain, as will the La Petite Academy in the southeast corner of the property. 

The developer intends to create three new 5,600-square-foot restaurants, a 2,100-square-foot drive-thru restaurant and roughly 3,300 square feet of retail space. Plans for Merriam Grand Station also include two new apartment complexes totaling more than 350 units. 

According to city documents, Drake plans to construct a bus stop along northbound Eby Avenue at Shawnee Mission Parkway for residents to connect to Johnson County Transit services. 

Drake plans to seek out tax incentives in the form of tax increment financing (TIF), industrial revenue bonds (IRB) and property tax abatement. In April, the city council approved the developer’s request to remove a portion of the Kmart property from the I-35 Redevelopment TIF District to allow the rest of the project to be eligible for a property tax abatement.

Following a public hearing on June 27, the Merriam City Council will consider the TIF project plan, rezoning requests and redevelopment agreement for the property.