Archive for Thursday, December 2, 2004

Developers eyeing needed businesses

New plans underway at former Basehor Plaza development

December 2, 2004

Shoppers rejoice. Soon, you may not have to trek to some other city for a grocery store.

Owners of the Wolf Creek Junction -- a development formerly known as Basehor Plaza -- said this week that they're actively recruiting businesses to locate inside their 33-acre parcel, which they dubbed "one of the prime pieces of commercial property in Leavenworth County."

Among the businesses developers Ed McIntosh and John Bell seek for their new property is a grocery store. McIntosh said the duo are in discussions with several potential grocers considering Wolf Creek Junction for another store location.

"Right now it's just interesting conversation," said McIntosh, who added that a 10-acre tract on the development's east side, facing U.S. Highway 24/40, is being set aside for a potential store. While no deals are imminent, McIntosh said each of the grocery companies developers are speaking with "are all showing some interest."

McIntosh and Bell recently completed purchase of the property from Basehor Plaza developer John Thurston. The new developers have more changes planned for their property, located at the northeast corner of 155th Street and highway 24/40, than just a name change.

Under the label of Basehor Plaza, the development would have featured 13 commercial lots and 20 multi-family residential lots. Under its new title and ownership, the property will be used entirely for commercial businesses, McIntosh said.

"First, we don't think Basehor can support all that multi-family," he said. "Second, we didn't think it was a ood fit for that."

It will include at least 15 one-acre commercial properties. How the remaining land will be divided is to be determined by tenants interested in locating to the property, such as a potential new grocery store, which would build on a large parcel of Wolf Creek Junction land.

McIntosh said he and Bell hope to place retail businesses on the most visible lots in the development, which would be the east side, facing highway 24/40. On the north side, developers hope to mixture of retail and office businesses.

Another business developers are seeking is a convenience store/gas station. McIntosh said he and Bell are in negotiations with a handful of potential owners interested in the Junction as a locale.

Landing a grocery store and a gas station would be a minor coup for the city. Since a Dec. 2001 fire destroyed the Basehor shopping center -- which was rebuilt and renamed the Basehor Town Square, located across 155th Street from Wolf Creek Junction -- the city has been without a grocery store and one of its gas stations.

Bichelmeyer's, a grocery store with gasoline pumps, was severely damaged by the fire (see related story) and did not relocate to the rebuilt Town Square. The store's departure left a void not only for grocery shopping, but also cut in half the options motorists had to buy gas in the city -- Casey's General Store, located in downtown Basehor on 155th Street, is the only place to buy gasoline in Basehor.

McIntosh and Bell are scheduled to update the Basehor Planning Commission Dec. 8 on the changes to Wolf Creek Junction. The developers are also scheduled to appear during a Dec. 13 Basehor City Council meeting, where they hope to gain approval for the development's final plat.

McIntosh said the best-case scenario for Wolf Creek Junction is to begin building either late winter or early spring. And, if the dominos fall in their favor, businesses could be open by late summer, he said.

Either way, Basehor residents can expect to see a development they'll be proud to shop at, McIntosh added.

"We're going to stay away from doing this cheap," he said. "We're going to try and make it upscale, something nice."

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